United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the mid-term election, making it clear in his resignation letter that the move was made at Donald Trump’s request.
Trump had been very critical of Sessions ever since the AG recused himself from overseeing the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller into Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russia. Sessions voluntarily removed himself from the probe after Democrats accused him of failing to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Trump tweeted that the attorney general role would temporarily be taken over my Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, who has previously written an op-ed saying that Mueller’s investigation was “going too far”. Whitaker is also expected to take over supervision of the Mueller probe, although it is currently being supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Earlier this year, Trump said that had he known Sessions would step back from overseeing the Russia investigation, he would have picked another AG, and accused Sessions of “disloyalty”.
Critics say that Donald Trump’s actions are adding up to a growing obstruction of justice case, which started when he fired FBI director James Comey, who previously led the Russia investigation.
The president cannot directly fire special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation Trump has repeatedly called a “witch hunt”. However, the attorney general is able to end the inquiry.
Democrats were outraged by Trump’s firing of Sessions. Nancy Pelosi said that the move is “another blatant attempt by President Trump to undermine and end” the Mueller investigation.