Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns, Trump Appoints Acting AG

BREAKING Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at President Trump’s request

US President Donald Trump has fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential race.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday resigned as attorney general after months of speculation about his departure.

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

Sessions trouble with Trump started after he had recused himself from oversight of the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. As a commentator for CNN, he has expressed skepticism about the probe.

That is true with the Mueller investigation, and I think in terms of the prior comments of Mr. Whitaker, they need to be examined, and then there's a process within the Justice Department, with consultation with the ethics officials, to see whether or not it requires recusals.

Both Whitaker and Clovis are rooted in Iowa politics, and both ran for the 2014 Republican Senate nomination.

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 Mueller investigation.

Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, has been appointed as acting attorney general. He had previously said in 2017 that "there will be holy hell to pay" if Sessions was sacked.

"Essentially we need to shame him into acting in compliance with the law", she said.

Asked if that would be to dwindle the special counsel's resources, Whitaker responded, "Right".

Good cause is a hard thing to show, especially since Mr Mueller's actions were approved by the deputy attorney general, said Jens Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell Law School. "But I also think Mueller has been well aware of that and probably has planned for that contingency", including having already prepared sealed indictments. "He would have to trump up some charges", Prof Ohlin said. He has previously said that he saw no basis for firing Mueller. A court might then issue a temporary restraining order blocking his removal.

Mr Sessions became the first casualty of a cabinet shakeup that had been expected from Mr Trump following the midterm elections on Tuesday. The law was meant to address vacancies created by deaths or resignations, but it is not clear it also applies to those created by firings.

Sessions announced his resignation Wednesday. President Trump forced Sessions out as the nation's chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, one day after Democrats captured the House in the midterm elections. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family - and by extension, to the country.

"I am not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation, because it is a hoax", he said. The president did not call him.

Last November, Whitaker penned a CNN op-ed claiming that the Robert Mueller investigation was going too far by digging into the president's financial records.

Mr Whitaker would be required to notify Congress of such a decision.

In that scenario, Mueller's budget could be reduced "so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt", Whitaker said during an interview with CNN in July 2017 before he joined the Justice Department.

Such actions would likely draw less political backlash than firing Mr Mueller directly, said Mr Rosenzweig.

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