Deputy Attorney General Nominee Faces a Congress Divided on Russia Probe

Rod Rosenstein is sworn in before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing to be deputy attorney general in Washington on Tuesday

While the appointment of a deputy to a Cabinet-level position would not necessarily garner much attention, observers are tuning in because of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recent announcement that he will recuse himself from any investigation of the Trump campaign.

Grassley, the chairman of the committee, accused Franken of asking Sessions a "gotcha" question during his confirmation hearing in January.

Russian Federation was the focus right out of the gate.

Rosenstein got questioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who used to chair the Intelligence Committee and received top access to classified information. "I find that very, very disturbing", Franken said.

Grassley said he has full confidence in Rosenstein, the USA attorney in Baltimore, to lead the investigation, calling him "a career civil servant who's served with distinction in both the Bush and Obama administrations". Democrats insisted that last week's recusal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Russian Federation probe did not go far enough to ensure the absolute independence of the probe.

"How can you investigate your boss?" said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., smiles as he speaks to attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Asked if he should quit or recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, he said: "I have said whenever it's appropriate, I will recuse myself".

As for Rosenstein's past work on high-profile cases, after he was tasked by Holder, the DOJ reached a guilty plea with retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright for making false statements about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

In 2012, then-Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. tapped Rosenstein and Ronald Machen, the United States attorney for the District of Columbia at the time, to lead an investigation into national security leaks. Throughout his 27-year career, Rod has earned a reputation as a fair and focused administrator of justice. "Rod has not only aggressively prosecuted unsafe gangs and criminals in Maryland, but also elected officials who violated the public's trust".

Rosenstein is a career prosecutor who has been USA attorney in Maryland since 2006.

"Those skills will be put to the test in the coming months."

"I do not know the details, and I would not reach any conclusions based on what I read in the newspapers", he said.

"His duty will be to serve justice and not political leaders", Van Hollen said Tuesday.

And yet, Sessions neglects to address a question he received in writing from Sen.

Pressed repeatedly by Democrats for a series of confirmations - including how he interpreted the scope of Sessions' recusal, whether he would publicly announce the close of a probe into Russian involvement in the election, whether he believed a special counsel was needed, whether he knew about the existence of an ongoing investigation - Rosenstein walked a careful tightrope.

'Are you willing to appoint a special counsel to examine Russian interference in our elections in other criminal activity?' asked Vermont Democratic senator Patrick Leahy. Cardin in calling for a non-partisan commission. On Friday, it was reported that Mr Comey had asked the Department of Justice to publicly refute Mr Trump's claim. Also a Harvard Law graduate, Brand is the former chief counsel for regulatory litigation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and served until last month as a member of the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

"It is essential that the same principle apply at the Department of Justice."
"I am confident of his judgment on these issues".

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