Rod Rosenstein is, by most accounts, about as good a nominee from President Trump for deputy attorney general as Democrats could hope for, the Washington Post reports. If the Trump administration gets its way, he could soon be the man handling the most politically charged investigation in the nation. The U.S. attorney for Maryland has sterling bipartisan credentials stretching back to the Clinton administration. The longest-serving U.S. attorney, Rosenstein was unanimously confirmed in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush and winning support from the state’s two Democratic senators.
Yesterday, Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) happily introduced him to the Judiciary Committee. Yet Rosenstein might get little Democratic support, and some may stretch out the confirmation process through the rest of the month because they want a special prosecutor to take charge of DOJ’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and Trump associates’ links to the Kremlin. The situation has left Democrats inside their own paradoxical box: The price of their support for a speedy confirmation is Rosenstein promising to appoint a special prosecutor. “If Mr. Rosenstein is unwilling to commit to naming a special prosecutor, or says that he needs to be confirmed and in his position before he can make an assessment — that is insufficient,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). “The need for a special prosecutor is clear enough today to make that call.” Yesterday, Rosenstein deflected questions about his view of the case by promising to follow the advice of Justice Department experts. “I would evaluate the facts and the law [and] consider the applicable law,” he said. He promised to use “my best judgment” in handling the Russia investigation and vowed to take the “right course of action.”