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Trump has lined up his pick for deputy attorney general

The president has selected Jeffrey Rosen to take over for Rod Rosenstein as the No. 2 official at the DOJ.

Jeffrey Rosen
Jeffrey A. Rosen, Trump’s pick for deputy AG.
Department of Transportation/AP
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

President Donald Trump has lined up his next pick for deputy attorney general: Jeffrey A. Rosen.

The White House announced Tuesday that Rosen, who’s currently serving as the deputy transportation secretary, is Trump’s choice to replace Rod Rosenstein as the No. 2 official at the Department of Justice.

Rosenstein is expected to step down next month. His departure has been anticipated for some time, after reports surfaced earlier this year that he planned to leave the administration voluntarily following the arrival of new Attorney General Bill Barr, who was confirmed last week.

Whether Rosenstein will still get to follow his timeline or get booted earlier is always a question in the Trump administration, of course — but the official who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation has somehow managed to survive this long.

If confirmed, Rosen will join the DOJ with a decades-long legal background, including stints in both government and the private sector. Before joining the Department of Transportation two years ago, he was a senior partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Rosen worked as general counsel at the DOT and later as a general counsel and senior policy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget during the George W. Bush administration, according to his DOT biography.

The Senate confirmed Rosen as deputy transportation secretary in May 2017, primarily along party lines (the vote was 56-42). It will likely be a similar split this time around, as Rosen will have to go through the confirmation process all over again for the deputy attorney general post.

How contentious those hearings will be depends a lot of on the status of the Mueller investigation. Rosenstein oversaw the special counsel’s probe for much of his tenure, following then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation. But Rosen — who will still have a tremendous portfolio at DOJ outside of the Mueller probe — likely won’t have such a high-profile or controversial task, as Barr is expected to stay in charge of the Russia probe to its conclusion.

Speculation has been intensifying that Mueller may wrap up his investigation soon. The special counsel’s office is famously tight-lipped about the status of the inquiry, but depending on how the Russia investigation shakes out, how the DOJ can and should handle it will be something many senators will certainly want to know.