Rod Rosenstein, key figure behind Mueller inquiry, expected to step down in mid-March

Rod Rosenstein, the US deputy attorney general who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department official has said.

Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by the US Senate last week.

The Justice official said Rosenstein’s departure was not related to renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump and using the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017 named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. The investigation continues.

A registered Republican, Rosenstein made the decision because his then-boss, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign, had recused himself from the issue.
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