At the confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Jeffery Rosen, democrats seemed frantically desperate to put roadblocks in the way. The president’s pick for the No. 2 spot at the Justice Department is a DOJ outsider, who will take the place of Rod Rosenstein.
Rosen was viciously attacked as democrats called into question his qualifications and what role he might have in overseeing any future investigations stemming from Mueller’s two-year ordeal.
Democrats have little chance of stopping it unless they get GOP support.
Republican Mike Lee was among those who repeatedly pressed Rosen concerning DOJ attempts to hold off implementation of a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill signed into law last year.
Rosen is a Transportation Department official who lacks experience as a prosecutor, “but he told senators that if confirmed he would follow DOJ guidelines, including adhering to an Obama-era memo that outlined how the White House and senior Justice Department officials can communicate about ongoing investigations.”
“I’m not at the department, I’m not yet in a position to make a pronouncement about it,” Rosen told Amy Klobuchar about the communications policy. “But I know it’s in effect and it appears to me to be a sensible way to proceed.”
Richard Blumenthal demanded that Rosen commit to making sure Mueller’s report is released in its entirety to Congress, and made it a stipulation of his confirmation approval.
Rosen wisely declined to make that promise. He added he is not a DOJ employee yet and William Barr has that authority anyway.
“He’s given me no reason to have even a glimmer of confidence in his standing strong for the integrity and independence of the ongoing investigations regarding President Trump or any other individuals in power, and the transparency and disclosure of the Mueller report,” Blumenthal said afterward.
The Hill reported:
Rosen is a deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation. He has worked as a general counsel at both Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget and spent nearly 30 years at the international law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he was a senior partner.
During the hearing, Rosen defended his lack of experience as a prosecutor by pointing to his lengthy career as a litigator.
He said that if Barr were to recuse himself from any matters or had to step down, he felt confident he could fill the role of attorney general. If that situation arose, he said, he would turn to the “seasoned and experienced and highly capable prosecutors” at the department to help him carry out the duties of the nation’s top law enforcement job.
“There are resources available and I would make it my job to utilize and leverage the expertise and experience they bring to bear, while combining that with my own experience and judgment to do the very best I could to serve in this position,” Rosen said.
GOP senators at the hearing appeared generally supportive of Rosen, who fielded questions about alleged political bias against Trump at the FBI and Justice Department.
Rosen said that while he did not know all the facts of the situation, he would follow the conclusions reached by any investigations into any potential biases.
“I don’t think we should have an attitude that anybody is above the law,” he said.
But he did face some bipartisan pushback over the Justice Department’s implementation of the First Step Act, the criminal justice reform legislation that Trump signed into law last year.
Lee, in particular, prodded Rosen over the agency’s adoption of the law. He pointed to DOJ missing the deadline to implement some provisions, and its decision to host a committee created by the act at the conservative Hudson Institute, which had criticized the criminal justice law, as evidence that the department wasn’t moving forward in good faith.
Other Republicans didn’t appear concerned about the criminal justice efforts.
“He said to me when we met and he reiterated, I think, this morning that he’s committed to implementing the law and all the laws,” freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told The Hill, adding that he hadn’t heard similar worries from other Republicans.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she hasn’t “seen any evidence” that Rosen wouldn’t fully implement the criminal justice law.
She also defended Rosen against Democrats’ criticism, saying that if they wanted to try and hold up his confirmation, “that’s their decision.”
“But I think he’s well qualified,” Ernst added.
Most Americans are fine with an outsider taking the position. In fact, many think it would be better to find someone from the private sector who isn’t tainted by the corruption from the previous administrations.