Trump fires Jeff Sessions as attorney general over Mueller investigations a day after midterms
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump finally forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions after sustained criticism from the president for recusing himself from handling Mueller’s investigation into the president’s dealings with Russia. Sessions has reportedly submitted his resignation letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Matthew Whitaker was announced as the acting Attorney General in the meantime.
Sessions, who successfully undid much of the already minimal work to establish police oversight and protect civil rights, wrote in his resignation letter, “I am particularly grateful to the fabulous men and women in law enforcement all over this country with whom I have served… Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law-a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard.”
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 7, 2018
In a tweet, Trump stated, “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 …We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
As Attorney General, Sessions play a key part in implementing many of President Trump’s campaign promises regarding immigration and law enforcement. One of the most controversial and notable policies of the Trump administration was announced by Session—the “zero-tolerance” policy of detaining all who crossed the border illegally and separating children from their parents. Children have still yet to be reunited with their parents.
Despite Sessions’ adherence to Trump’s racist policies throughout his campaign and his turbulent time as Attorney General, his relationship with the president grew strained due to the Mueller investigation.
Sessions had recused himself from Mueller’s Russia investigation because of his position in the Trump campaign, much to the president’s frustrations. In an early Fox News interview, Trump said that many of his officials condemned Sessions’ decision and urged him to pick another Attorney General. Sessions continually maintained his decision was aligned with the Justice Department’s ethics guidelines.
The new acting Attorney General, Whitaker, has publicly criticized the Mueller investigation, and indicated he will get involved with obstructing it.
But top Democrats are calling for Whitaker to also recuse himself from the Russia investigations. CNN reports that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”