Rosenstein poised for confirmation as deputy attorney general

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein is poised to be confirmed to serve as deputy attorney general after clearing a procedural vote Monday with bipartisan support.

The Senate voted 92-6 to cut off debate on Rosenstein's nomination to be the No. 2 official at the Department of Justice and move to a final vote, which is expected on Wednesday.

Rosenstein's otherwise uncontroversial appointment has drawn additional scrutiny after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would recuse himself from investigations into the Trump campaign's interaction with Russia. Rosenstein will now have to decide whether to appoint an independent prosecutor in the case.

He also will help the department hire dozens of U.S. attorneys across the country after President Donald Trump asked for their resignation in early March.

The 52-year-old Bethesda man, the nation's longest-serving U.S. attorney, has enjoyed support from both Democrats and Republicans. His confirmation was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month on a 19-1 vote.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Monday that he believes Rosenstein is "independent" and has developed a reputation for integrity.

"With respect to the executive branch investigation into the ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia, Mr. Rosenstein committed to me he would appoint a special counsel to conduct that investigation if one is required," Schumer said.

The high level of support in the vote Monday all but assures Rosenstein will be confirmed later this week. Maryland's two Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both voted in favor of Rosenstein.

Rosenstein was appointed to serve as U.S. attorney for Maryland in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush and was kept in the job by President Barack Obama. The Senate voted unanimously in 2005 to confirm his nomination as U.S. attorney.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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