News & Politics

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Resigns, Thanks Trump for 'Courtesy and Humor' in Personal Conversations

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein listens was Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report during a news conference, Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the Department of Justice in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

On Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation to President Trump, effective May 1. Rosenstein pointed out in his letter that the “median tenure of a Deputy Attorney General is l6 months, and few serve longer than two years.” When his resignation becomes effective on May 1, Rosenstein will have served just over two years.

In his letter to the president, Rosenstein lauded the Department of Justice for making “rapid progress in achieving the Administration’s law enforcement priorities reducing violent crime, curtailing opioid abuse, protecting consumers, improving immigration enforcement, and building confidence in the police while preserving national security and strengthening federal efforts in other areas.”

“Our nation is safer, our elections are more secure, and our citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence efforts and schemes to commit fraud, steal intellectual property, and launch cyberattacks,” he wrote.

“I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve,” Rosenstein told President Trump, “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.'”

“The Department of Justice pursues those goals while operating in accordance with the rule of law,” he said.

Rosenstein also praised his colleagues at the DOJ:

We also pursued illegal leaks, investigated credible allegations of employee misconduct, and accommodated congressional oversight without compromising law enforcement interests. I commend our 1 15,000 employees for their accomplishments and their devotion to duty. As Thomas Paine wrote, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

“We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls,” he insisted. “We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.”

Rosenstein often found himself at loggerheads with the president, especially in the days after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. He was accused by FBI lawyer Andrew McCabe of discussing the possibility of wearing a “wire” to record private conversations with Trump and discussing with others the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Rosenstein and the DOJ pushed back strenuously against the charges. “The Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”

Last week Rosenstein blasted critics, defending his department’s handling of the Russia collusion investigation that turned up no evidence that Trump or anyone on his campaign staff colluded with the Russians. He told attendees at a dinner that he had promised to “do it right” when he was confirmed by the Senate and take the investigations “to the appropriate conclusion.”