Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump's request, interim replacement named

David Caplan
November 07, 2018 - 6:04 pm

Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY


WASHINGTON (1010 WINS/AP) -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is retiring at Donald Trump's request, Sessions confirmed in a letter to the president.

"At your request, I am submitting my resignation," Sessions writes. "Since the day I was honored to be sworn in Attorney General of the United States, I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country. I have done so to the best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice."

Trump tweeted, "We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well."

The president added in a subsequent tweet, "We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date."

According to reports, this means that Rod Rosenstein will no longer oversee the investigation into Russian collusion; Whitaker will. 

Sessions left the Justice Department for his last time as attorney general late Wednesday.

He walked out Wednesday evening to applause from more than 150 employees who gathered in a courtyard at the Justice Department.

As he left, Sessions appeared emotional and said, "Thank you'' and "God bless,'' before hopping into a waiting SUV.

He also shook hands with his chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday after Sessions resigned at the president's request.

Whitaker told Sessions: "It's been an honor, sir.''

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said it is "paramount'' that the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller be protected by President Donald Trump's new attorney general.

Schumer said he finds the timing of Sessions' departure "very suspect.'' He says it would spark a "constitutional crisis'' if Trump forced out Sessions as a "prelude'' to ending or limiting Mueller's investigation.

Trump and Sessions had a falling out after the attorney general recused himself from Mueller's investigation. The president has repeatedly belittled Sessions in public and expressed regret about appointing him.

And top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said he wants "answers immediately."

Rep. Jerry Nadler is in line to become the chairman of the Judiciary panel when Democrats take control of the House in January. He tweeted that "we will be holding people accountable.''

Nadler said he wants to know why Trump is making the change and "who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation?''