© Greg Nash
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Rod Rosenstein's nomination to be the deputy attorney general on Monday, setting him up for a full Senate vote.
Senators on the committee voted 19-1. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) was the only senator to vote against his nomination.
If approved by the full Senate, Rosenstein will take over the No. 2 spot at the Justice Department.
The position would give him control over the investigation into Russia's meddling in the White House race, including potential connections between Trump campaign officials and Russia, after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE recused himself earlier this year.
Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised On The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP MORE (D-Vt.), who supported Rosenstein, praised him as possessing a "reputation of integrity that's unusual for this administration's nominees."
"He is on the American side, not on the Russian side, and I trust that he'll hold true to that statement," Leahy said ahead of the vote.
Democrats pressed Rosenstein during his committee hearing to weigh in on their push for a special prosecutor to look into Russia's election interference.
But Rosenstein sidestepped, noting that he didn't have the underlying facts.
"I'm simply not in a position to answer that," he said in response to a question from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel Feinstein Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
He more broadly committed to appointing a special counsel “whenever I determine it’s appropriate based on the policies and procedures of the Department of Justice.”
Blumenthal previously announced that he would oppose Rosenstein's nomination as long as he refused to commit to appointing a special prosecutor to look into election interference and any links between the Trump team and Moscow.
"Only you have the power to appoint a special prosecutor," he said during the Trump nominee's hearing.