Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has informed President Trump and White House officials that he will leave the Department of Justice in coming weeks, ABC News reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the plan.
While a timetable for his departure is not set in stone, Barr could be confirmed as soon as the beginning of February.
"I know the deputy attorney general has always planned to roughly stay around two years", Sanders told "Fox & Friends" co-hosts.
After the report broke, Trump promised to get rid of a "lingering stench" at the Justice Department, but weeks later stated that he had a "very good relationship" with Rosenstein, and had "no plans" to give the Deputy AG his marching orders.
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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who Trump named in November, now has ultimate authority over Mueller and the investigation.
ABC News reported there was no indication Rosenstein was being forced to step down. Speculation has swirled for months and months that Trump would fire Rosenstein, who has overseen the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation since Robert Mueller's appointment on May 17, 2017.
If Barr is confirmed, he would likely assume oversight of the Russian Federation investigation, which he has previously expressed criticisms of. An official briefed on the discussions said Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition, which includes the Mueller investigation.
At a news conference in December, Rosenstein said that Mueller's investigation would be "handled appropriately" no matter who is overseeing it.
Rosenstein's job status has appeared tenuous at times, most notably in September, when he showed up at the White House expecting to be fired over news reports that he had discussed secretly recording the president.