White House says Rosenstein departure his choice

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is casting the expected departure of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in coming weeks as Rosenstein’s choice alone.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Rosenstein had always planned to stay around two years. Sanders told Fox News there was no “willingness” by Trump or the White House to force Rosenstein out.

She said he wants to help with the transition to a new attorney general.

William Barr, President’s Donald Trump’s nominee to be the permanent attorney general, is scheduled to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week for his confirmation hearings. Barr could be installed at the Justice Department as early as February.

Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump has denounced the investigation as a witch hunt. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general.