10:17, April 30 279 0 abajournal.com

2019-04-30 10:17:05
Rod Rosenstein praises Trump’s goals and DOJ independence in resignation letter


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted a resignation letter on Monday that praises the goals set by President Donald Trump while also asserting the U.S. Justice Department’s “special responsibility to avoid partisanship.”

Rosenstein, who oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian influence, will leave on May 11, report the Washington Post, the National Law Journal, Courthouse News Service and the Wall Street Journal.

Rosenstein’s letter, addressed to President Donald Trump, praised the president “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.’ ”

Rosenstein went on to stress the Justice Department’s responsibility to protect the Constitution and the rule of law, which is “the foundation of America.”

“We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls,” he wrote. “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. We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.”

Trump has nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein. Rosen is a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

Before the release of the redacted Mueller report. Attorney General William Barr asserted that he and Rosenstein had found there was no obstruction of justice, though Mueller had drawn no conclusion on the issue. Critics had viewed the conclusion as taking too great a leap to favor Trump given the information in the report.

Rosenstein had also written a memo criticizing FBI Director James Comey before Comey was fired by the president. Rosenstein said in Senate testimony that he stood by the memo and had discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI with Jeff Sessions before Sessions became attorney general.

Also leaving the Justice Department is its acting No. 3 lawyer, Jesse Panuccio, the National Law Journal reports. Before taking the position, Panuccio had worked as a partner at Foley & Lardner, as general counsel to Florida’s governor and as counsel on the presidential campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Panuccio is expected to be replaced by Claire Murray, a lawyer who formerly worked in the White House Counsel’s office, according to the National Law Journal. Murray joined Barr’s staff after he became attorney general.