April 25, 2017

Van Hollen Statement on Confirmation of Rod Rosenstein

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen released the following statement in support of the confirmation of Rod Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General:

"Mr. President, I support Rod Rosenstein's nomination to become Deputy Attorney General. Throughout his 27-year career, Mr. Rosenstein has earned a reputation as a fair and focused administrator of justice. He has served in Maryland in both Republican and Democratic administrations and has earned the distinction of being the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the Country.

"I had the honor to introduce Mr. Rosenstein to the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing. He has aggressively prosecuted not only dangerous gangs and criminals in Maryland but also elected officials who violated the people'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.

"When Mr. Rosenstein and I met recently, I asked him if he supported the consent decree negotiated between the Obama Administration and the City of Baltimore. He assured me that if the court formally entered the consent decree, he would support its implementation. Attorney General Sessions, however, has frequently expressed skepticism about consent decrees. Baltimore is the only city to invite the Justice Department to conduct a thorough, methodical analysis of its police department in order to foster transparency and increase trust between police officers and Baltimore City residents. As the former U.S. Attorney in Maryland, Mr. Rosenstein is well acquainted with the challenges that the city faces. He has prosecuted corruption charges against Baltimore City police officers and should recognize the importance of reform and effective community policing. I trust Mr. Rosenstein will keep his promise to support the consent decree.

"In addition to being a top-notch lawyer, Mr. Rosenstein 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 Mr. Rosenstein "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 immediately. If confirmed, Mr. Rosenstein will assume the office of Deputy Attorney General at a tumultuous time for the Justice Department. His job will be to serve justice, not political leaders.

"As Mr. Rosenstein and I discussed, the question for him is the same that then-Senator Sessions posed to Sally Yates during her hearing to become Deputy Attorney General. Senator Sessions said: "You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about." Senator Sessions then asked: "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, Mr. Rosenstein said that he would be willing to put his job on the line to uphold the integrity of the Department of Justice.

"I believe 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 my fellow Senators in calling for a nonpartisan Commission.

"I also made clear to Mr. Rosenstein that if the FBI Director did, in fact, request that the Justice Department deny President Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the Obama Administration wiretapped Trump Tower, then the Justice Department has a duty to immediately let the public know the truth.

"It is vitally important that the American public have 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 he apply the same principle at the Department of Justice."