President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as the next deputy U.S. attorney general, the White House said on Tuesday night, the latest shuffle in the Justice Department at a time when it faces close scrutiny over its Russia investigation.
Rosen, currently deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, would succeed Rod Rosenstein, who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and Trump's campaign.
Rosenstein is expected to step down by mid-March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.
Attorney General William Barr welcomed the choice of Rosen, saying in a statement that he had 35 years of experience at the highest levels of government and in the private sector.
"His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction," Barr said.
Rosen's nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
He previously served as general counsel in the Transportation Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but does not have experience as a prosecutor or Justice Department official, which is unusual for a deputy attorney general candidate.
The Justice Department oversees the nation's law enforcement and various federal investigations, including the U.S. Special Counsel's Office probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by Trump's presidential campaign.
Rosenstein gained national attention after Trump's former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving his then second-in-command to oversee U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.
Trump, who repeatedly criticized Sessions over the probe that he calls a "witch hunt," ousted Sessions in November.
Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" on Tuesday that it was possible Trump was a Russian asset.
"I think it's possible. I think that's why we started our investigation, and I'm really anxious to see where director Mueller concludes that," he said.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed accusations hurled at him by McCabe, who told CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that Rosenstein had discussed invoking the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the months after Trump took power.
Rosenstein, who stopped overseeing Mueller's probe on Nov. 7 when Trump named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general, had been expected to leave soon after Barr assumed office. The U.S. Senate confirmed Barr last week.