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Rod Rosenstein staying at Justice Department 'a little longer'

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By Julia Ainsley and Pete Williams  with NBC News Politics
Image: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves a news conference at t
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves a news conference at the Department of Justice on July 13, 2018.   -   Copyright  Chip Somodevilla Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will stay at the Justice Department "a little longer," according to a senior Justice Department official.

Rosenstein had previously said he would leave in mid-March, noting during a public appearance on March 7 that it would be one of his final speeches.

Rosenstein recently discussed his upcoming planned departure with Attorney General William Barr, after which it was decided that he would stay on a little longer, the official said.

The departure of Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017 and oversaw his Russia investigation until Barr was confirmed as attorney general earlier this year, was widely thought to be tied to the completion of Mueller's report. Many speculated Rosenstein would stay on until Mueller completed his investigation and delivered a report on his findings to Barr.

Asked whether the delay in Rosenstein's departure means that Mueller is still not ready to deliver his report, the official declined to comment.

On March 7, at the annual TRACE Forum, Rosenstein said, "It's fitting that one of my final speeches as deputy attorney general is about promoting compliance and preventing corruption."

He then joked that what was next for him was a period of unemployment.