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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The full text of the Rod Rosenstein exit statement, drafted by Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores in the voice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and sent to the White House Monday morning, has been reviewed by Axios.

Its veracity has been confirmed by three sources close to the White House with direct knowledge.

Rod Rosenstein has served the Department of Justice with dedication and skill for 28 years. His contributions are many and significant. We all appreciate his service and sincerely wish him well.
Matt Whitaker, my Chief of Staff for the last year, will instill confidence and uphold the integrity of the Department as the second highest law enforcement officer in the Nation.
Finally, I am confident that Noel Francisco will oversee the special counsel with a commitment to justice as Acting Attorney General for this matter. As I have said before, the American people deserve an expeditious resolution of this investigation consistent with the rule of law.

The bottom line: Rosenstein offered his resignation to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday and reiterated his willingness to resign over the weekend. He was working with the White House on the terms of his departure, and the plan was to make it public on Monday. After Axios published its story — which conveyed too much certainty to a fluid situation by presenting Rosenstein's resignation as a done deal — chaos ensued and Rosenstein appeared to reverse course.

What I don't yet know: How exactly the conversation between Rosenstein and Kelly changed on Monday. I don't know what terms he had demanded and how, if at all, his demands changed from Friday to Monday. As of now, it's possible that he remains Deputy Attorney General for the foreseeable future. He meets with President Trump on Thursday.

Important context: Trump has long been fed up with Rosenstein, and sources close to the president have told Axios for months that he would love to find a politically advantageous way to get rid of him.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Patrick Gaspard to leave George Soros' Open Society Foundations

Patrick Gaspard speaks onstage at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Photo: Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.

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