Rod Rosenstein is an American lawyer who served as the United States Deputy Attorney General from April 26, 2017, to May 11, 2019, and is famed for authoring the memo that saw the dismissal of former FBI director, James Comey. Some critics argued that Rosenstein inadvertently damaged his reputation by enabling the dismissal of Comey during an investigation into Russian election interference. But that’s a story for another day. Before his appointment as Deputy Attorney General, Rosenstein served as a United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. At the time he was confirmed Deputy Attorney General by the Senate on April 25, 2017, Rosenstein was the country’s longest-serving US Attorney. This piece takes you an inch past his professional life; as we unveil the side of Rod Rosenstein that many are yet to know.
Who Is Rod Rosenstein?
Rod Rosenstein was born—Rod Jay Rosenstein— in Philadelphia, the United States on January 13, 1965, to parents; Robert and Gerri Rosenstein. His father was a small business owner while his mother worked as a bookkeeper and was president of a local school board. Rod and his younger sister, Nancy, were raised in Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania. Today, Dr. Nancy Messonnier serves as director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Growing up, Rod Rosenstein attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics in 1986. Fresh from College, Rosenstein proceeded to Harvard Law School where he worked as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. While there, he got an internship with then acting United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Robert Mueller. Rosenstein would graduate cum laude in 1989 with a Juris Doctor degree.
Professionally, Rosenstein got his start working as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Between 1997 and 1998, he was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. After serving as clerk to Judge Ginsburg, Rosenstein parlayed is way into the United States Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. For four years (1990 to 1993), he worked as a trial attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, prosecuting public corruption cases.
At the start of President Clinton’s tenure in 1993, Rosenstein served as Counsel to Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann (1993–1994) and Special Assistant to Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Harris (1994–1995). In 1997, United States Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia hired Rosenstein as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland in 1997. A district he would later head (as United States Attorney) in 2005 when President George W. Bush nominated him on May 23, 2005. He assumed office on July 12, 2005, after the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination.
Only two years later, President Bush again nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. However, Democratic Senators for Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, and Ben Cardin blocked Rosenstein’s nomination, on grounds that he did not have sufficient links to Maryland.
In February 2017, shortly after assuming office, President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice. He’d been one of the 46 United States Attorneys ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign in March that year. However, President Trump declined Rosenstein’s resignation. He was eventually confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017. After serving two years, surviving several impeachment articles in 2018 and overseeing the removal of FBI Director, James Comey, Rod Rosenstein resigned as Deputy Attorney General on May 11, 2019. On February 19, 2019, President Trump had announced his intent to nominate Jeffrey A. Rosen to replace Rosenstein.
Meet His Family
As of this writing, Rod Rosenstein is married to fellow attorney Lisa Barsoomian. Like her husband, Barsoomian also served in public capacities as an attorney for the National Institutes of Health and as a government attorney; where she defended cases for Bill Clinton and Colin Powell, the FBI‘s “Carnivore” surveillance system, and many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases. Together, they have two daughters. The family lives in Bethesda, Maryland.