Durbin Questions Jefferey Rosen, President Trump's Deputy AG Nominee

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Deputy U.S. Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen – who has no prior Department of Justice (DOJ) experience – about his views on the opioid epidemic and criminal justice reform.  Mr. Rosen showed a limited understanding of the DOJ’s responsibility when it comes to the production of 13 billion opioid doses a year in America – enough to give every adult American a three week prescription. 

“Do you know what agency gives the pharmaceutical industry permission to produce 13 billion a year?” Durbin asked. 

Mr. Rosen could not answer the question. 

“It is one agency – and in the flow chart it is an agency that will be under your jurisdiction, the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The agency that is supposed to be protecting us in this drug crisis actually gives legal permission for the pharmaceutical industry to produce 13 billion opioid doses a year.  I know that because I complained four years ago when it was 14 billion – I thought it was an outrage.  And the DEA has lowered it to 13 billion,” Durbin said.  “What are you going to do about it?”

Mr. Rosen questioned the accuracy of Durbin’s information, which comes from DEA and FDA reports, and then could not give any concrete answers as to how he would help end the worst drug crisis in the history of the United States if confirmed as Deputy Attorney General. 

Durbin also questioned Mr. Rosen about the decision by the Trump Administration’s DOJ to select the Hudson Institute – a think tank that strongly opposes criminal justice reform – to appoint and host the Independent Review Committee authorized by Title I of the First Step Act.

“I’m a little bit worried that we just let a fox in the chicken coop here,” Durbin said.  “What can we trust that you will do to make sure that this moves in a timely fashion to achieve the goals which the President signed into law on December 22nd last year?”

Mr. Rosen stated that his objective – if he is confirmed – would be to implement the law the way it was written by Congress.

Video of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here for TV Stations.

Last week, Durbin met with Mr. Rosen and expressed concern that he is not qualified to serve in this critical position.