Following former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe, Rosenstein assumed control of the investigation, which frequently put him at odds with both the White House and House Republicans who pushed for an end to the investigation. Even after President Donald Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general, Rosenstein retained oversight over the investigation. If confirmed, Barr—a former attorney general for George H.W. Bush who once argued that the president didn’t need congressional approval to invade a foreign country—would likely assume control of the investigation.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is. After the New York Times reported in September that Rosenstein once seriously considered wearing a wire and secretly recording Trump, multiple outlets reported a few days later that Trump would fire Rosenstein. That never happened, obviously.
What’s unclear is when, exactly, the deputy attorney general will go. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Rosenstein plans to stay on until shortly after Barr’s confirmation; the Senate Judiciary Committee has set hearings for January 15 and 16, and Barr is expected to be confirmed by the Senate sometime in February. (NBC News reported last month that, incidentally, Mueller could submit his report as early as mid-February.)
Given how shaky his tenure has been, it’s a miracle Rosenstein made it this long without being ousted in Trump’s typical publicly humiliating way. But as for him actually leaving, well, I’ll believe it when I see it.