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Barr could be installed at the Justice Department as early as February.

Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees the probe into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election and faced criticism from President Donald Trump, is preparing to leave his job soon as Trump's nominee for attorney general gets ready to take office, a department official said on Wednesday.

Graham said Barr also told him about his longtime relationship with Mueller.

But the assurances may not be enough for Democrats, since Graham also said he shared concerns raised by Barr about the possibility of a "slippery slope" from potentially alleging obstruction of justice against a president for firing a political appointee.

Mr Rosenstein has spent his career at the Department of Justice, and most recently served for 12 years as the US Attorney General for the state of Maryland before beginning his current role in April 2017.

His former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, also pleaded guilty to a range of crime, including paying a pair of women alleging affairs with the President to keep quiet while Trump was running for office.

ABC News reported that Rosenstein has told Trump and others that he plans to depart in the coming weeks, probably once the Senate confirms a new Justice Department chief.

"The Senate 'should subject Mr. Barr's views to the strictest of scrutiny next week and I still believe, after the revelations about Mr. Barr's unsolicited memo, President Trump ought to withdraw this nomination", Schumer said.

If Barr is confirmed, he would likely assume oversight of the Russian Federation investigation, which he has previously expressed criticisms of.

Senate hearings for Mr Barr's confirmation are scheduled to begin on 15 January.

According to NBC news, a source close to the deputy attorney general has indicated that Mr. Rosenstein intends to stay on until Mueller completes his prosecutorial and investigative work for the special counsel's office.

"I don't think there's any willingness by the President or the White House to push him out", Sanders said. His interim successor, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, consulted with Justice Department officials but ultimately decided not to recuse himself. "Who replaces him will be extremely critical".

Attorney General nominee William Barr (left) is meeting with senators including Judiciary Committee member Sen.

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out - oh wait, he isn't, but he might be soon".

Have Trump and Rosenstein feuded?

In November, the president said Rosenstein "should have never picked a special counsel" to investigate the Russian Federation matter and retweeted an image depicting Rosenstein and several other current and former officials in a prison cell.

Trump has labeled the probe a "witch hunt" and denies any wrongdoing.