With Barr’s departure nearing December 23, Rosen will lead the Justice Department for President Donald Trump’s final month in office, placing the former firm’s attorney in the midst of what may be a political storm of dust caused by a lame president who still refuses to abdicate. He made it clear that he wanted his opponents to be tried or even imprisoned.
The deputy attorney general always held the back seat for the highest appointment in the ministry, but Rosen’s public image was less than usual. He has largely stayed away from Barr’s more controversial moments in the limelight, such as when the attorney general bypassed prosecutors in the criminal trials of Trump aides Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
But Rosen has stepped up in major corporate litigation, including playing a central role in confronting the opioid makers and the tech community.
According to a Justice Department official who knows him, Rosen does not like making the kinds of decisions that would put him at the center of political storms. It is not yet known whether he will align with Trump or back off on behalf of a section where political appointees are quietly leaving and the professional staff preparing for the next administration.
“He’s not the type to like to make decisions,” the official said. “Barr is all fire and rage. Rosen does things for the right reasons.”
Another source familiar with it told CNN, “Rosen is calm but strong.”
The Justice Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Barr’s early departure puts Rosen, who also served in the Trump Department of Transportation as a deputy secretary of transportation and as a general counsel for agencies during the George W. Bush administration, in an unusual position to lead the department as the acting official for one final month in the presidency.
He will likely remain in office until the attorney general’s choice for President-elect Joe Biden is confirmed, as has happened in previous administrative swings at the request of incoming administrations.
Former Representatives General Loretta Lynch and Michael Mukasey, who were approved by the Senate, remained in the office of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively, until recent days, before handing over the cabinet to their two deputies – those who are now Rosen – until the next administration’s candidate can be confirmed, For example.
Plead behind the scenes
Rosen’s deliberative approach stems from his decades spent in private practice dealing with complex corporate lawsuits. In justice, Bar-Rosen treated like his attorney, with the attorney general remaining involved in the department’s most attractive moments rather than stepping aside for Rosen to run it alone, according to a Justice Department official.
“The bar has occupied the podium the whole time. So we don’t know how much of a role Rosen played in a lot of the major decisions,” said Julie Rodin Zebrak, a Democratic political advisor who spent two decades at the Justice Department previously. He served as deputy chief of the former deputy attorney general. “We really don’t know much about him.”
Rosen remains somewhat ambiguous even to attorneys who have worked in the main justice building, according to current and former officials who spoke to CNN.
Home Justice Ministry documents, which the ministry released in recent months under the Freedom of Information Act, give little indication of the extent of Rosen’s involvement behind the scenes in the controversial matters. For example, he was briefed about the fallout in the section on Stone’s sentencing but it is unclear to what extent he was involved in choosing Barr to bypass the prosecutors in the case.
Rosen’s lack of prosecutorial experience was a problem when he first took on the role of attorney, but he took the lead in major actions by the Department of Justice, including the antitrust lawsuit against Google and a criminal payment agreement with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma.
Efforts to craft a case against Google, which is an ongoing case, have focused on Rosen’s office, according to two former Justice Department officials. When the lawsuit was announced in October, Rosen told reporters that “nothing is on the table” when it comes to the consequences that Google may face.
During his confirmation in the Senate as deputy attorney general, Rosen vowed to undo any improper influence he might face. A senator asked Rosen in writing how he would respond if the president asked him to do anything illegal. Rosen initially indicated that he believed “this hypothetical scenario is unlikely to happen,” then wrote: “If I am directed to do something illegal, I will resign rather than carry out an illegal order.”
“If the appropriate answer is to say no to someone, I will say no,” he said at the Senate confirmation hearing in April 2019.
What Rosen might face in Trump’s final weeks
Rosen may face political pressure similar to that of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general and Barr, as the president continues to press publicly for leniency with his supporters accused of committing crimes, for investigations into voter fraud that may cast doubt on the truth of the election and its consequences for the investigators who have tracked down. Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.
Barr’s departure comes on the heels of an interview with the Associated Press that angered Trump, with Barr announcing that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and reports that the attorney general kept the investigation of Hunter Biden quiet until after. The election.
The election fraud case surfaced again in Barr’s resignation letter on Monday, with the attorney general saying he briefed Trump that day on the Justice Department’s review of voter fraud “and how these allegations will continue to be pursued.” The department did not provide further details on what this review might entail, and state and federal judges have repeatedly rejected Trump’s assertions that do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud this year.
The president may also push the Justice Department over the investigation of Hunter Biden – the president-elect’s second son – and to obtain findings from Special Counsel Now John Durham, whom Barr has chosen to investigate the FBI’s handling of the early Russian investigation and has been used by Republicans to question findings related to the acceptance of the Trump campaign. For the Russian intervention in 2016.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have already called for a special advisor on Hunter Biden. Appointing one of them would place the criminal investigation with the attorney general who was brought in specifically to lead the investigation, placing him half a step away and protecting in some aspects from the administration of the next president.
Already, federal prosecutors in Delaware are working with IRS and FBI investigators to issue subpoenas and obtain interviews for Hunter Biden over tax-related issues and his business dealings with China, CNN reports.
“There will be all this pressure” on Rosen in recent days, a Justice Ministry official said.