Senate confirms Rosen for No. 2 spot at DOJ
© Transportation.gov

The Senate on Thursday confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE's nominee Jeffrey Rosen for the No. 2 spot at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Senators voted 52-45 on Rosen's nomination to succeed former Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst MORE, splitting along party lines.

The Senate's vote comes after Rosenstein left the department earlier this month, capping roughly two years in the Trump administration.

ADVERTISEMENT

The deputy attorney general has typically been a relatively low-profile post, but the position was thrown into the spotlight after Rosenstein took over oversight of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's Russia probe following former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSupreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Tuberville campaign bus catches fire in Alabama MORE's recusal.

Rosen, who was formally nominated in March, currently serves as deputy secretary of Transportation. He also previously worked in the George W. Bush administration and practiced law at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm.

Republicans had lined up behind Rosen, guaranteeing that he would be able to be confirmed. With Republicans holding 53 seats, he could have lost three GOP votes and still have been confirmed by a tiebreaker.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project MORE (R-Ky.) praised him ahead of Thursday's vote, saying he would be a "clear asset" to the Justice Department.

"The president has chosen a nominee with a rock-solid legal reputation, who has served with distinction as deputy secretary of Transportation, and who would be a clear asset to the Department of Justice and to the nation in this new capacity," McConnell said.

Rosen's ascension to the No. 2 spot comes amid an intense fight between Democrats and the Justice Department over demands for Mueller's full report and the underlying evidence. Senate Democrats are also trying to get the Justice Department watchdog to open a long list of investigations into Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrat asks Barr to preserve any records tied to environmental hacking probe Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE.

Rosen noted during his confirmation hearing that he wouldn't be the first deputy attorney general to not have previously worked in the Justice Department. Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham Hillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse MORE (R-S.C.) also defended Rosen ahead of the committee vote, saying that the Justice Department had previously had five deputy attorney generals that did not have DOJ experience.

But Democrats have raised concerns about Rosen's qualifications and his potential role in overseeing probes spawning out of Mueller's sprawling, 22-month investigation. Mueller's team referred 14 cases to other offices.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBottom line Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats Senate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel, said earlier this month that she couldn't support Rosen because he would be "learning on the job" and has a "history of partisanship that risks undermining the independence that we have so badly needed."

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoIf only woke protesters knew how close they were to meaningful police reform Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats Senate Democrats call on Facebook to crack down on white supremacists MORE (D-Hawaii) added that Rosen's "lack of experience with the DOJ, but with his experience in Republican politics, is good for Donald Trump but not good for the country."

Rosen defended his willingness to push back against the White House during his confirmation hearing, telling senators that “if the appropriate answer is to say no to somebody, then I will say no."