Deputy US Attorney General Rosenstein expected to resign in weeks

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Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the new Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, told reporters that William Barr, Trump's nominee to serve as the top u.s. law enforcement official, told him Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation would continue if he is confirmed as attorney general.

Barr's confirmation as attorney general ― a position now occupied on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker following the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions ― would ensure a smooth transition, the person said. Fox News, citing unnamed Justice Department officials, also reported the planned departure in weeks.

A person familiar with Rosenstein's thinking told HuffPost that there's now no concrete, specific plan in place for Rosenstein's resignation but said he's expecting to depart after Barr's confirmation. Also, Rosenstein told senators during his 2017 confirmation hearing that he would not remain in his post if he believed that he was being pressured to influence any investigations.

Asked about Rosenstein's departure, first reported by ABC News, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said she had not spoken to Rosenstein and would leave any announced departures to him or the president. Barr would most likely take over that role, since Rosenstein only assumed it after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. He has long overseen the investigation and has frequently drawn Trump's ire.

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If Barr's chances for confirmation appear strong, Democrats nonetheless are expected to question him sharply about the skepticism he has voiced about the Russian Federation investigation.

Barr has criticized the Mueller investigation in the past, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department a year ago critiquing Mueller's investigation into whether the president had sought to obstruct justice by firing Comey.

A US Department of Justice official later told the BBC that someone "who was in the room" and heard Mr Rosenstein's secret recording suggestion had considered it to be a joke.

"I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller, and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job", Graham told reporters after the meeting.

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In November, Mr Trump retweeted an image of Mr Rosenstein behind prison bars. Soon after, Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel.

Graham said Mueller and Barr are "best friends" and have known each other for over 20 years, their wives have been in a Bible study group together and Mueller has attended the weddings of two of Barr's daughters.

He has accused the investigation of being led by "Democrat loyalists".

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