USA law chief 'takes swipe at Trump' in resignation letter

Rod Rosenstein resignation letter

As of May 11, Rod Rosenstein will no longer be Deputy Attorney General. He defended Barr against criticism that he was spinning Mueller's findings in the president's favor and stood silently behind him as Barr praised Trump's cooperation at a news conference before a redacted version of the report was released.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, Rosenstein said he would depart on May 11, after more than two turbulent years as the second highest-ranking official in the Department of Justice.

The veteran Republican prosecutor, 54, stunned the country on May 17, 2017 when he named an independent lawyer to take on the Russian Federation probe after Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

The departing deputy AG wrote to Trump he was "grateful" for the opportunity to serve, "the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address".

"The Department bears a special responsibility to avoid partisanship", Rosenstein's letter reads.

Since then, Rosenstein has assisted Barr in overseeing the conclusion of Mueller's investigation and the release of his final report on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Mr Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department last month. He was accused by Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Andrew McCabe of discussing the possibility of wearing a "wire" to record private conversations with Trump and discussing with others the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

The letter didn't mention either the special counsel or the subsequent investigation, but it did call for a Justice Department to stay neutral in a Washington environment that can become partisan very quickly.

He repeatedly attacked Sessions, Rosenstein and Mueller as running an "illegal witch hunt", demanding it be shut down.

At the time, sources told ABC News that the remarks were "likely in jest" and Rosenstein phoned the president to dispute the accounts. Trump also attacked Rosenstein, accusing him on Twitter of engaging in a "very illegal act" with former acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe.

However, a couple of weeks later, Fox News reported that, according to James Baker's congressional testimony, both McCabe and Lisa Page came to Baker after the meeting and mentioned Rosenstein's suggestion about invoking the 25th Amendment. Despite stoking Trump's ire, he remained on the job.

In his resignation letter, Rosenstein may have made an oblique reference to those chaotic moments and the media attention surrounding them.

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