Mueller last month submitted his report to the Justice Department, and Rosenstein was part of a small group of department officials who reviewed the document and helped shape its public release.
After Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed the investigation, Barr and Rosenstein stepped in and determined the evidence wasn’t enough to support such an allegation.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 following the recusal of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and oversaw much of his work.
His exit leaves the department without the official most closely aligned with the probe as officials grapple with public and congressional scrutiny of the special counsel’s findings and the department’s handling of the report.
He not only supervised Mueller’s work for much of the last two years but also defended the investigation against attacks from congressional Republicans and Trump, who has blasted the probe as a «witch hunt.»
As deputy, Rosenstein was a central character in some of the most consequential, even chaotic, moments of the Trump administration. He wrote a memo criticising James Comey that the White House used as justification for the firing of the FBI director, then a week later appointed Mueller to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Trump has nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen as Rosenstein’s replacement.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Sessions, who ordinarily would have overseen the investigation, recused himself in March 2017 because of his close involvement in the Trump campaign.
Over the next two years, with Sessions recused, Rosenstein set the boundaries of Mueller’s investigation, approved investigative steps and, in place of the rarely seen special counsel, twice announced criminal indictments from the Justice Department podium against Russians accused of election interference.