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What you need to know about embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

All eyes in Washington this week have been on Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general and former U.S. attorney for Maryland whose job hangs in limbo ahead of a meeting with President Donald J. Trump.

Here’s what you need to know about Rosenstein’s work in D.C. and his history in Baltimore.

» Rosenstein was Maryland’s U.S. attorney for 12 years before he left his office in Baltimore in April 2017 to serve as the No. 2 to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

» Before he left his position in Maryland, Rosenstein oversaw a number of high-profile cases. His office, along with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI, brought charges against the disgraced Gun Trace Task Force. He also prosecuted a man in the killing of 3-year-old McKenzie Elliott, a Baltimore toddler struck by a stray bullet. And his office indicted dozens of people in large prison corruption scandals at the Baltimore City Detention Center and the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover.

» Rosenstein laid the case for firing James B. Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

» He also appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and oversees the probe into possible collusion between Russians and Trump associates during the 2016 presidential election. Sessions recused himself from the investigation because of his close involvement in the Trump campaign.

» The status of Rosenstein’s job came into question after The New York Times reported he discussed secretly recording the president and invoking the 25th amendment against Trump. The amendment outlines a method to remove an unfit chief executive. Rosenstein said the report was not accurate. The Justice Department released a separate statement, saying the comment was meant sarcastically.

» Rumors have swirled during the past week that Rosenstein would resign or be fired. He is scheduled to meet with Trump Thursday, though their agenda is uncertain.

» Rep. Elijah E. Cummings called on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to conduct an emergency hearing if Rosenstein is forced out of his position.

» If Rosenstein is booted from the job, it would fulfill a prediction he made in February 2017 as he departed his role in Maryland. “I don’t know how long I’ll be in this job in Washington,” he told a meeting of Baltimore criminal justice leaders, noting the median tenure for the country’s deputy attorney general was 14 months.

» Rosenstein has referenced the crime rate in Baltimore several times during his stint in D.C. In January, Rosenstein told the American Correctional Association conference that he helped lower Baltimore’s murder rate through 2011, when the city saw 197 homicides. But murders spiked in 2015, when local authorities “decided to cut back on policing and prosecution.”

» Rosenstein penned an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun in September 2015 outlining a strategy for reducing gun violence in Baltimore by securing long sentences for felons, proactively building cases against gang members and prosecuting dangerous offenders who violate the conditions of their probation or parole.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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