Maryland’s top federal prosecutor could soon be second-in-command in President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
CNN first reported weeks ago that Trump was planning to nominate Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein for the post of deputy attorney general under Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions. The White House made its official announcement last night.
Rosenstein has been the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland since 2005 when he was appointed by former President George W. Bush. The Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination.
Over the last 12 years, he’s been credited with turning his office around and has prosecuted countless criminals ranging from sex offenders to co-conspirators in prison racketeering rings. He led three of Maryland’s largest-ever cases targeting corruption in state prisons, indicting dozens of gang members, inmates and corrections officers for racketeering in Baltimore’s pre-trial Metropolitan Transition Center in 2009, the city jail in 2013 and the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover last October.
Rosenstein earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He first joined the U.S. Justice Department as a trial attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division in 1990.
The White House announced Rosenstein’s nomination one day after Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to defend in court his executive order banning travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. Yates had been serving in that position as a placeholder for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was nominated to be attorney general but needs confirmation by his Senate peers. President Barack Obama originally appointed her as U.S. deputy attorney general in 2015.
Should Rosenstein accept, he should have an easier time getting approved than his potential boss. His colleagues, including the former head of the FBI’s Baltimore office and a private law firm partner who once led Rosenstein’s violent crimes prosecution unit, described him to The Washington Post as a “steady hand” and a prosecutor who is committed to targeting corrupt public servants, regardless of their party affiliation.
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