Rosenstein, 53, has served in his position in the Department of Justice since April 2017. During that time, he appointed Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation and was involved in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Before he took the position, Rosenstein was a long serving U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.
While Rosenstein’s fate as the No. 2 man in the Justice Department remains uncertain, read on for a timeline of his DOJ career – which spans more than two decades.
In May 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation because of his close involvement with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. His recusal catapulted Rosenstein into the position to oversee the probe.
Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel of the investigation that same month.
As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein has made two public announcements of indictments brought by the special counsel — one against Russians accused of hacking into Democratic email accounts, the other against Russians for allegedly running a social media troll farm to sway public opinion.
He drew scrutiny when it was revealed he drafted a memo used by the Trump administration to fire FBI Director James Comey. While Rosenstein said the memo was not “a finding of official misconduct” or a “statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination,” the document did allege serious damage done to the department by Comey during his tenure, Politico reported.
Deputy Attorney General
Rosenstein was sworn in as the 37th deputy attorney general on April 26, 2017. He had been confirmed by the Senate a day prior.
Among his duties as deputy attorney general, Rosenstein is tasked with handling the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department and overseeing its agencies, including the FBI.
At the time, Rosenstein told the Baltimore Sun: “I do my job without regard to partisan political consideration.”
Former President George W. Bush appointed Rosenstein as the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland in May 2005. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and continued in his role as Maryland’s top federal prosecutor throughout President Obama’s tenure, the Baltimore Sun reported.
According to The Atlantic, he was one of only three U.S. attorneys – out of more than 90 – at the time who Obama asked to continue in his role.
In his role, Rosenstein reportedly became known as someone who worked at “the highest professional level” and who went after violent gangs in the state. He also took on corruption in correctional facilities among staff and inmates, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Principal deputy assistant attorney general
Rosenstein served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s tax division beginning in 2001 until 2005.
Assistant U.S. attorney
In 1997, Rosenstein was tapped as assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland. During this time, he was tasked with arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Court, according to his biography.
Counsel and assistant
From 1993 to 1994, Rosenstein was counsel to the deputy attorney general. He then spent a year as the special assistant to the criminal division’s assistant attorney general.
Following that, he served as associate independent counsel, serving on a team of prosecutors led by Kenneth Starr to handle the Whitewater investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s real estate dealings while in Arkansas.
“I would have trusted him with anything,” Philip B. Heymann, the deputy attorney general who hired Rosenstein as his counsel, told The Washington Post. “If there was a case where I was worried there was a perception we were being unfair, I would trust him to do the right thing and to do the job.”
Rosenstein first joined the Justice Department through its Honors Program in 1990, according to his biography. He prosecuted public corruption cases with the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department’s criminal division.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.