On Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his letter of resignation to President Donald Trump. In his resignation, which takes effect on May 11, Rosenstein thanked President Trump for the opportunity to serve the country.
According to a report from NBC News in March, Rosenstein had previously stated that he was planning on leaving the Justice Department in the middle of that month, but he had agreed to stay “a little longer.” His plans were to stay until special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released.
In the resignation letter, Rosenstein addressed President Trump and said: “I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity.” In his letter, Rosenstein didn’t mention Mueller, who was appointed by Rosenstein to conduct the investigation in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Rosenstein pointed out that the DOJ’s job was to avoid partisanship within the government. “Political considerations may influence policy choices, but neutral principals must drive decisions about individual cases,” he wrote.
Rosenstein continued by saying: “We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls. We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.” He concluded with: “We keep the faith, we follow the rules and we always put America first.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Rosenstein quoted one of his self-proclaimed heroes, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who had said in 1940 that government lawyers “must at times risk ourselves and our records to defend our legal processes from discredit, and to maintain a dispassionate, disinterested, and impartial enforcement of the law.”
Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who was once the attorney general, is well-known for the role he played as lead prosecutor during the Nuremberg Nazi war trials. The Nuremberg trials were held after World War II to try those guilty of heinous crimes against humanity.
According to CNN, while speaking at a dinner in New York, which was sponsored by the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein defended the way he handled the Mueller investigation. He pointed out that “not everybody was happy with my decision (to appoint Mueller), in case you didn’t notice.” He continued by saying: “You just need to accept that politicians need to evaluate everything in terms of the immediate political impact.”
When Rosenstein was questioned about his lack of facial expression during Attorney General Barr’s press conference about his findings of the Mueller report, Rosenstein said: “The answer is, I was thinking, ‘My job is to stand here with a deadpan expression.’ Can you imagine if I did anything other than a deadpan reaction?”
According to Fox News, Barr praised Rosenstein in a statement on Monday. Barr’s statement read: “His devotion to the Department and its professionals is unparalleled. Over the course of his distinguished government career, he has navigated many challenging situations with strength, grace, and good humor.”