March 07, 2017

Van Hollen Statement at the Nomination Hearing of Rod Rosenstein

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen introduced Rod Rosenstein at his Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing for Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

"Thank you Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein for the opportunity to join Senator Cardin in supporting Rod Rosenstein's nomination to become Deputy Attorney General. Throughout his 27-year career, Rod has earned a reputation as a fair and focused administrator of justice. As a result, he has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations and has earned the distinction of being the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the country today.

"Rod has not only aggressively prosecuted dangerous gangs and criminals in Maryland, but also elected officials who violated the public's trust. He has shown impartiality in these investigations, and his successful prosecutions have led to ethics reforms that increased transparency and public confidence in Maryland.

"In addition to being a top-notch lawyer, he is known for the professional manner in which he runs his current office. In his letter of support, Maryland's Attorney General Brian Frosh notes that Rod 'inherited an office in turmoil' when he became Maryland's U.S. Attorney, but with a 'steady hand and superb management' created a department that is now universally respected.

"Those skills will be put to the test in the coming months.

"It is no secret that Rod is before this Committee at a tumultuous time for the Department of Justice. His job will be to serve justice, not political leaders.

"As Rod and I discussed yesterday, the ultimate question is the same one that Senator Sessions posed to Sally Yates during her hearing as the nominee to beDeputy Attorney General, when he said, 'You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about' and went on to ask, 'Do you think the Attorney General has the responsibility to say no to the President if he asks for something that's improper?'

"Like Sally Yates, Rod Rosenstein said he would be willing to put his job on the line to uphold the integrity of the Department of Justice.

"Mr. Chairman, Ibelieve that any investigation into the ties between the Trump Administration and Russian interference in our elections will require the appointment of an independent Special Counsel, and I have also joined Senator Cardin in calling for a non-partisan Commission.

"I also made clear to Rod that - if the FBI Director has, in fact, requested that the Justice Department deny President Trump's unsubstantiated claims about the Obama Administration wiretapping of Trump Tower - then the Department of Justice has a duty to immediately let the public know the truth.

"I think we would all agree that it is vitally important that the American public has faith that our laws apply equally to all Americans, regardless of rank or position. Rod Rosenstein has applied that principle faithfully during his time as U.S. Attorney in Maryland.

"It is essential that the same principle apply at the Department of Justice.

"Mr. Chairman, I do not know what the future holds on these issues of great importance to our democracy. I do know that Rod Rosenstein has a record and reputation of serving justice.

"I also want to express our gratitude to Rod's wife, Lisa, and his daughters Julie and Allison for joining us today, and for their family's commitment to public service."