WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump intends to nominate Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to be the new deputy attorney general, the White House announced in a news release Tuesday.
Trump’s announcement comes following the confirmation of new attorney general William Barr and as current deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein prepares for his mid-March departure — setting the stage for a new set of Department of Justice officials to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Rosenstein previously oversaw the probe after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, and more recently former acting attorney general Matt Whitaker supervised Mueller.
Rosen was previously a senior partner at Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis, where he worked for nearly 30 years, according to the White House. He served as general counsel at the Transportation Department and in the Office of Management and Budget in the administration of President George W. Bush.
A Northwestern University and Harvard Law School alum, Rosen taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and chaired the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, per the White House.
Barr praised Rosen, whom he has known for more than 20 years, as an experienced manager and litigator.
“Jeffrey Rosen is a distinguished lawyer who has served at the highest levels of government and the private sector,” Barr wrote in a statement, citing Rosen’s “experience litigating complex matters in state and federal courts” and his current position at DOT “where he leads 50,000 employees.”
“His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction,” Barr added.
Rosen, who has never worked at DOJ, will oversee the day-to-day management of the department.
CNN reported last week that Rosen, who was confirmed by the Senate in 2017, had emerged as the top contender for the job. Rosenstein had planned for several months to depart shortly after Barr’s confirmation, and a Justice Department official told CNN Monday that he would leave in mid-March.
The succession of the deputy attorneys general is also telling in its implications for the Mueller probe, as Rosenstein has signaled to other officials that he would leave when he was satisfied that Mueller’s investigation was either complete or close enough so as to be sufficiently protected. An official briefed on the discussions said Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition, which includes the Mueller investigation.