Senate confirms Rosen for No. 2 spot at DOJ

The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Trump’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 Rosenstein, 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.{mosads}

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 Mueller’s Russia probe following former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’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 McConnell (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 Barr.

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 Graham (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 Feinstein (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 Hirono (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.”

Tags Bob Mueller Dianne Feinstein Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Lindsey Graham Mazie Hirono Mitch McConnell Mueller investigation Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Special Counsel investigation United States Department of Justice William Barr William Barr

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