Trump fires Sessions
> White House bars CNN reporter after verbal spar
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump forced out his attorney-general on Wednesday and threatened to fight back if Democrats use their new majority in the US House of Representatives to launch investigations into his administration and finances.
Trump came out swinging a day after his Republicans lost control of the House, and followed through on repeated threats to remove Jeff Sessions ( pix).
Sessions, a 71-year-old former senator from Alabama, was an early and loyal supporter of Trump but drew his fury when he recused himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 White House campaign.
Trump named Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, as acting attorneygeneral and said he would nominate someone for the job soon.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who could be the next speaker, said Sessions’ ouster was a “blatant attempt” to undermine the Russia probe.
She urged Whitaker, who now oversees special counsel Robert Mueller and has argued that the former FBI director’s investigation has gone too far, to recuse himself from any involvement.
During a news conference, Trump trumpeted his role in Republican victories in Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections, and warned of a “warlike posture” in Washington if Democrats investigated him.
But the news conference quickly turned raucous when some reporters pushed him on whether his campaign rhetoric on migrants from Central America was divisive. Trump aggressively pushed back. “CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump told CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, who wrestled with a White House staffer who forcibly pulled the microphone from his hands.
“You are a rude, terrible person,” Trump told Acosta.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called Acosta’s behaviour “absolutely unacceptable” and said his White House press pass would be suspended “until further notice”.
Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern” and of preventing other reporters from asking questions at the news conference.
Acosta said in a tweet late on Wednesday he had been denied entry into the White House by the Secret Service.
He called the White House accusations “a lie”. – Reuters
A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by Acosta as he questions Trump on Wednesday.