How Will Rod Rosenstein’s Resignation Affect the Wire Act?

Rod Rosenstein ResignsLast week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation letter in person. As confirmed by officials– both from the White House administration and the Justice Department– Rosenstein delivered president Trump his resignation in person. He is expected to officially exit the office on May 11.

News Highlights

  • Rod Rosenstein submits resignation in person, effective May 11.
  • Rosenstein’s history with Trump puts his decision in the spotlight.
  • The future of the Wire Act is bound to be affected by the deputy AG’s resignation.

Rosenstein and the Wire Act

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has played a key role in the US legislation over the past two years of office. The Wire Act re-interpretation has definitely been one of the more widely highlighted moments.

The Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, supported by Rosenstein, was the one to initiate a completely new process of re-reviewing the 1961 Wire Act. This move, approved by Rosenstein, threw the previous 2011 interpretation made by the then-Obama administration out the window.

In his official resignation letter, Rosenstein stated the following:


We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and the truth is not determined by opinion polls. We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.

Rod Rosenstein

The New Wire Act Interpretation

Steven Engel Assistant Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel

Since 2011, the Wire Act had been known to prohibit the practice of interstate sports betting, without any power over other forms of gambling.

However, the new opinion of the DOJ aims to expand this notion, so that it would affect online gambling platforms and lotteries such as the Mega Millions and Powerball games. Not only that, but it would also affect interstate shared poker player pools.

Steven Engel, Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, reasoned this decision to alter the interpretation due to the simple language of the act, which ultimately led to a whole new reading. In his words:


Based upon the plain language of the statute, however, we reach a different result. While the Wire Act is not a model of artful drafting, we conclude that the words of the statute are sufficiently clear and… sweep beyond sports gambling.

Steven Engel

Rosenstein and the Trump Administration

Despite being appointed and operating as Deputy Attorney General during the Trump rule, Rosenstein has been on various terms with the current president of the US. When Trump fired the previous Attorney General James Comey, Rosenstein hired Robert Mueller. Both initiated what is nowadays known as the Mueller investigation into Comey’s assumed involvement in Russia’s actions back in 2016.

Nevertheless, the final report showed no traces of interference on behalf of Russia in the 2016 presidential election, and somewhat smoothed things out across the administration. By the end of his time in office, Rosenstein personally addressed the President in his resignation letter:


I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and the humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals, you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Rod Rosenstein

What Will Happen With the Wire Act?

While one of the key characters in the final resolution is stepping down, the Wire Act is still very much a hot issue among US legislators. The case has gone to court, with the latest developments in favor of the plaintiffs, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission supported by online gambling authorities from the states of Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

A final definition of the Office of Legal Council’s opinion on the Wire Act is expected quite soon, and everyone is impatient to see how Rosenstein’s resignation will affect this outcome. The Trump administration, or better yet, one of his most prominent presidential campaign sponsors – the Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has been fervently fighting the online gambling advent in the US. With this in mind and presidential elections not too long from now, the story is very much alive and progressing.

About the Author
Shelly Schiff

Shelly Schiff - Collaborator

Especially enjoys writing about casino and bingo, but she also has experience creating content about crypto and partnerships.

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