Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has officially submitted his resignation papers, stating that his last day will be May 11.
The departure of Rosenstein, whose tenure was marked by his appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump to the Oval Office, was expected after William Barr was confirmed as U.S. attorney general in February. However, Rosenstein decided to stay on until the conclusion of Mueller’s probe.
When Mueller declined to conclude whether Trump’s actions with regard to Russian interference in the election rose to the level of obstruction of justice or other crimes, Rosenstein, along with Barr, came out publicly this month to state definitively that Trump did no wrong.
In his resignation letter Monday, Rosenstein lauded Trump, according to the Associated Press, writing, “I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens.’”
While Rosenstein’s departure was expected, his resignation letter came days after the Washington Post reported that last fall, when reports came out that Trump was set to fire him because of the Mueller probe, Rosenstein mollified Trump, assuring him in a call that he would make sure Trump would be treated fairly.
As the Post reported:
“I give the investigation credibility,” Rosenstein said, according to an administration official with knowledge of what was said during the call. “I can land the plane.”
Rosenstein denied the report, but with his ultimate statement about Trump’s involvement in Russia-gate drawing criticism from Democrats and others as inappropriate advocacy, perhaps the plane was landed for Trump after all.