Attorney General

Deputy attorney general who will replace AG Barr has no prosecution experience

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Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey A. Rosen. Photo from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen will be taking over leadership of the Department of Justice on an acting basis when U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves the office Dec. 23.

President Donald Trump announced Barr’s resignation on Twitter on Monday, report the Washington Post, the New York Times and the National Law Journal.

“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House,” Trump tweeted. “Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”

Rosen, 62, has no prior experience as a prosecutor, the Wall Street Journal reports. Before joining the DOJ, he was in the No. 2 position at the Department of Transportation. He is a former senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis, where Barr was of counsel before he was nominated to lead the DOJ.

At the time that Rosen was nominated for deputy attorney general, the Wall Street Journal described him as a “seasoned bureaucrat” who was known in the Transportation Department “as a sharp and apolitical lawyer familiar with the levers and gauges of government.”

At the DOJ, Rosen took a leading role in the antitrust lawsuit against Google, led the department opioid case against Purdue Pharma, and was involved in the lawsuit seeking to delay publication of a book by John Bolton, a former national security adviser. Rosen’s colleagues told the Wall Street Journal that Rosen relies on aides for expertise in areas in which he lacks experience.

Rosen’s job will be taken over by his top deputy, Richard Donoghue, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. His office won convictions against Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere.

Donoghue was previously an assistant U.S. attorney and a military magistrate judge and lawyer with the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

Barr is leaving the department after declaring that the DOJ had found no evidence of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election and no evidence of bad voting machines. The statement was said to have angered Trump, who was also frustrated because Barr did not reveal the tax investigation of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, before the election, according to the news coverage.

Barr praised Trump in his resignation letter.

“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance,” Barr said, citing “frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.”

Barr said during the Trump administration, the DOJ had worked to protect the public from violent crimes, worked with leaders in Mexico to fight the drug cartels, cracked down on China’s exploitation of the economy, defended competition in the technology sector, and supported police officers.

Critics said Barr had used the DOJ to support Trump and his allies. Controversial moves included appointing a special counsel to examine the Russia investigation; moving to drop charges against Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser; and seeking a lower sentence for former Trump adviser Roger Stone.

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