Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a reporter on Thursday that he did not threaten to quit and has no intention of resigning, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
During the fallout of the termination of James Comey as Director of the FBI, one name keeps popping up almost as much as President Donald Trump: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Just taking office in April, Rosenstein has suddenly become a household name, as a memo he sent to President Trump about Comey’s performance is being cited as a key factor in Trump’s decision, along with a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Despite reports that Rosenstein threatened to quit after being hurled into the center of the storm, a source in the administration told ABC News.
Rosenstein has a reputation for being apolitical, and he took issue with the White House using him as the reason for Comey’s controversial dismissal, the source said. Rosenstein’s memo to the President discussed Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s emails, saying that Comey acted inappropriately by making public statements regarding key decisions in the matter; decisions that he said should be made by the Attorney General.
The ensuing storm was reportedly upsetting to the upstanding attorney, who has been described as a “real-life version of a Jimmy Stewart character.”
While Rosenstein may be new to the spotlight, he’s certainly no stranger to the Justice Department.
A 27-year veteran of the federal justice system, Rosenstein served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, a post he held for nearly 12 years before he was tapped to be Deputy AG. Before that, he spent nearly his entire legal career in the DOJ. After graduating from Harvard Law School and clerking for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Court of Appeals, he joined the Justice Department through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, and moved up in the ranks, working in several divisions before taking the top spot in Maryland. Rosenstein is now serving in his fifth administration, being part of the DOJ under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.
Rosenstein may seem like a rare breed these days, in that he’s found favor in the eyes of both Democrats and Republicans. He was unanimously confirmed as the Maryland U.S. Attorney. Presidents from both parties have kept him on board, and he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in a 94-6 vote. After Sessions’ confirmation came after a bitter partisan battle, Rosenstein was viewed as a steadying force in the Department. “Everybody across the board has unequivocally said this guy is a man of upstanding character,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted.
With a reputation for being an ethical man of integrity, Rosenstein may be the perfect person to clear — or at least deflect — any controversy that the Trump administration finds itself in.