Jeff Sessions forced out
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out Wednesday as the country’s chief law enforcement officer after enduring more than a year of blistering and personal attacks from U.S. President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation.
Sessions told the president in a one-page letter that he was submitting his resignation “at your request.”
Trump announced in a tweet that he was naming Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, a former United States attorney from Iowa, as acting attorney general.
The resignation was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into the attorney general’s tumultuous tenure, when he stepped aside from the investigation into potential co-ordination between the president’s Republican campaign and Russia.
Trump blamed the decision for opening the door to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the Russia investigation and began examining whether Trump’s hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct justice and stymie the probe.
The implications for Mueller’s investigation were not immediately clear. The Justice Department did not announce a departure for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller more than a year and a half ago and has closely overseen his work since then.
The relentless attacks on Sessions came even though the Alabama Republican was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump and despite the fact that his crime-fighting agenda and priorities — particularly his hawkish immigration enforcement policies — largely mirrored the president’s.