Jeff Sessions Forced Out as Attorney General by Trump

November 7, 2018, 1:51 pm EST | Share:

WASHINGTON (AP) — After abiding blistering and personal attack from President Trump over the Russia invesigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out of office on Wednesday, November 7th.

He said that he was submitting his resignation “at your request” in a one page letter to Trump.

Trump then tweeted that he was going to name Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, 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 coordination 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.

But the relationship was irreparably damaged in March 2017 when Sessions, acknowledging previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador and citing his work as a campaign aide, recused himself from the Russia investigation.

The decision infuriated Trump, who repeatedly lamented that he would have never selected Sessions if he had known the attorney general would recuse. The recusal left the investigation in the hands of Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel two months later after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

The rift lingered for the duration of Sessions’ tenure, and the attorney general, despite praising the president’s agenda and hewing to his priorities, never managed to return to Trump’s good graces.

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