US Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns

Minnie Murray
November 9, 2018

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Matthew Whitaker would be appointed acting US attorney general after Jeff Sessions resigned from the position just a day after the midterm elections. Sessions had endured months of public abuse from Trump, who soured on Sessions because he recused himself from oversight of the Russian Federation investigation shortly after he arrived at the Justice Department. Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME criticized Trump for stripping Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of his role overseeing the probe.

But it's not typical for chiefs of staff to replace the head of an agency when that head resigns, as former CIA staffer and NBC contributor Ned Price pointed out.

The deputy attorney general appointed Mr Mueller to lead the inquiry after Mr Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in 2017. "That's why Cabinet Secretaries have Deputies".

But his departure was anticipated since early this year, after he endured withering and repeated criticism from the president over the legally troubled ban on Muslim travellers Trump sought when he came into office, and over the Mueller probe.

Rosenstein no longer will oversee the special counsel investigation.

He has said that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted for her email scandal as secretary of state and that Trump made the right call in firing FBI Director James Comey.

Mr Sessions resigned at the request of the president.


Trump's relentless attacks on Sessions came even though the Alabama Republican was the first US senator to endorse Trump and despite the fact his crime-fighting agenda and priorities, particularly his hawkish immigration enforcement policies, largely mirrored the president's.

Whitaker so far hasn't said much about his outlook for the Justice Department or the special counsel investigation; Rosenstein hasn't spoken publicly either since Sessions' dismissal. Rosenstein kept his job after a flurry of speculation that he would be fired following a New York Times report that suggested Rosenstein had raised concerns about Trump. Justice Department officials said his taking over for his boss was, at the very least, "awkward", because chiefs of staff typically leave with the attorney general.

"Americans must have answers immediately as to the reasoning behind" Trump's move to remove Sessions, he said.

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway, is interviewed on television at the White House's North Lawn in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

"The video is clear, he did", she said. However, questions have been raised as to whether the investigation will be safeguarded from Whitaker, who has criticized it in the past.

But Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley praised Whitaker. Trump wrote. "A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date".

One reason Sessions endured months of taunting from Trump is that he believed he was protecting the integrity of the Justice Department and was trying to prevent the president from bringing in someone who would politicize it, according to a US official who has worked with Sessions and frequently talked with him. Another person said that remained true ever after Whitaker took his place.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER