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Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2020.
Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2020. Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is resigning today, ending a tenure marked by the things that didn’t happen, including no special counsels appointed despite pressure from the White House.

The Justice Department said Rosen is leaving office at noon today, making way for an unusual arrangement to start the Joe Biden administration. 

In his nearly monthlong tenure as acting attorney general, Rosen withstood pressure from Trump, who personally and through White House officials had pushed repeatedly for the DOJ to appoint a special counsels to investigate matters the President wanted, a person briefed on the matter said. 

Later today, Monty Wilkinson, a career DOJ lawyer and former Eric Holder deputy chief of staff, is expected to be acting attorney general until Biden’s pick, Merrick Garland, is confirmed, people briefed in the matter said.

Wilkinson is deputy assistant attorney general for human resources and administration. For a few hours, until Biden signs an executive order appointing Wilkinson, John Demers, assistant attorney general for the national security division, will serve as acting attorney general. 

With Rosen leaving, Demers would normally be the acting attorney general. But Biden is relying on a Trump-era legal opinion that installed Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general after Trump fired Jeff Sessions. Democrats questioned the legality of that appointment, but now Biden is using that precedent to appoint Wilkinson as acting attorney general. 

Demers will stay on for a time under Biden. Under US law, a Senate-confirmed official must serve as attorney general at all times to handle sensitive national security matters.



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