For more than a year, Rosenstein has been overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Russian Federation interfered with the 2016 presidential election.
Rosenstein was said to have discussed removing Trump from office or secretly recording conversations with him; he said he never authorized any action after those conversations but Justice Department sources said he expected to be fired. Barr was spending most of Wednesday on Capitol Hill, meeting senators on the committee before his confirmation hearing next week.
Rosenstein's impending departure as the department's No 2 official may raise the stakes for Barr, who already has come under fire from Democrats for his criticism of Mueller's probe and whether a sitting president can be charged with obstruction of justice.
The source said Rosenstein is not being forced out, and he has conveyed his thinking to the White House.
Officials told ABC and Fox that Rosenstein had planned to serve as deputy for two years - a milestone that was approaching.
Trump also retweeted an image that was edited to show Rosenstein, Mueller, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and others behind prison bars in November. "My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him", Sanders said.
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CBS News reported that while Rosenstein was planning to resign, there was no exact timeline for his departure and that he would stay on in a transition period after Barr is confirmed. He has long overseen the investigation and has frequently drawn Trump's ire.
Graham told reporters Barr assured him the investigation would continue.
Mueller and Barr worked together in the early 1990s when Barr was Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush and Mueller was the head of the DOJ's Criminal Division.
Ahead of Barr's Senate confirmation hearing next week, top Justice Department officials have sought to downplay his previous argument that the president can't be investigated for obstructing justice.
Republicans, of course, control the Senate with 53 votes, so ― barring some huge revelation ― Barr's confirmation doesn't appear to be in any real jeopardy.
Rosenstein has stayed on under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, whose controversial appointment sparked numerous legal challenges and raised questions about what role he would play regarding the investigation.