President Donald Trump on Wednesday named Jeffrey Rosen as his nominee to take over the number-two slot at the Justice Department.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rosen would take the job being vacated by Rod Rosenstein, the DOJ official who became a frequent target of Trump’s attacks after he appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation in Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Rosenstein previously said he planned to leave the department on his own terms after the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr. Barr was approved by the Senate last week.
While he has worked for a previous administration and in private practice, Rosen does not have any experience at the Justice Department or as a prosecutor. That makes him an unusual choice to oversee the daily operations of a sprawling federal law enforcement agency.
Jeffrey Rosen: Transportation official nominated as Justice Department’s second-in-command
Previously: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expected to leave Justice Department after Senate confirms William Barr
Here’s what you need to know about Rosen’s background:
He’s currently at the Transportation Department (and he worked there before)
Rosen serves as the deputy secretary at the Transportation Department. According to his bio, he oversees the daily operations of the department under Secretary Elaine Chao.
He was confirmed to that position by the Senate in May 2017, winning over a small number of Democrats and all of the voting Republicans. His nomination to that post worried some Democrats because of his views on environment and climate change issues, according to Politico.
But this isn’t his first stint at DOT. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as general counsel for the department under Secretary Norman Mineta from 2003 to 2006.
He also worked at OMB
In 2006, Rosen joined the Office of Management and Budget as its general counsel and senior policy adviser.
During his time at OMB, he was critical of what he saw as regulatory overreach, E&E News reported. That included testifying about the termination of 180 potential rules and opposing EPA’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
He served in that role until 2009.
He’s a longtime litigator
Before he joined the Bush administration, Rosen spent his entire career at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he litigated cases around the country, according to his DOT bio. He returned to the firm after he left OMB in 2009, and remained there until he joined the Trump administration.
Thomas Yannucci, a partner at the firm, told Reuters that Rosen would be committed to maintaining DOJ’s independence.
“No one’s going to push Jeff around. He’ll be committed to doing his job,” Yannucci said.
Barr, the new attorney general, also worked at Kirkland & Ellis prior to his nomination.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson