Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller and remains his most visible Justice Department protector, is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr is confirmed as attorney general, a person familiar with the plans said Wednesday.
In recent months, Rosenstein has become a primary target of Trump's over his role in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia.
In October, speculation mounted that Trump would fire Rosenstein, after a salacious New York Times op-ed by a supposed Trump cabinet "insider" claimed that Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire to secretly record the president to prove he was unfit for office.
Barr's confirmation as attorney general ― a position now occupied on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker following the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions ― would ensure a smooth transition, the person said.
The South Carolina senator also asked Barr if he believes Mueller has pursued a "witch hunt" against President Donald Trump.
Barr, a conservative steeped in the law-and-order politics of the early '90s, began meeting with senators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday ahead of his confirmation hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
A person familiar with Rosenstein's thinking told HuffPost that there's now no concrete, specific plan in place for Rosenstein's resignation but said he's expecting to depart after Barr's confirmation.
If confirmed, Mr Barr will succeed acting attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he was sacked by Mr Trump.
She says he wants to help with the transition to a new attorney general.
Graham said Barr told him about his longtime relationship with Mueller.
Mr Rosenstein has overseen special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, a role which has repeatedly drawn the ire of Donald Trump, who has labelled the probe a "witch hunt". The appointment followed the recusal of Sessions because of his work on the Trump campaign and Trump's firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. Barr's opinion of Mueller is "very high", Graham said.
After an embattled turn in that role, Sessions stepped down at the end of previous year and was replaced temporarily by Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.
At a news conference in December, Rosenstein said that Mueller's investigation would be "handled appropriately" no matter who is overseeing it. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, when Barr's nomination was announced.