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After Months of Rumors, Jeff Sessions Is Out as Attorney General
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7 Nov 2018 05:21 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Jeff Sessions (Image source: Public domain)

 

A little over 12 hours since the Democrats took over the House, Donald Trump has followed up on the long-rumored removal of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. He resigned Wednesday on the president's request. 

The former attorney general was previously a U.S. attorney for Alabama, the attorney general of Alabama, an Alabama senator, and finally the U.S. attorney general.

 

Trump and Sessions have a confusing history. He was an early supporter of Trump's during his 2016 campaign. In fact, he said under oath he never had contact with Russian officials during the campaign, but when reports turned up contradicting that, he recused himself from the Russia investigation. 

In fact, Sessions had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Also, George Papadopoulos puts him at a meeting with Trump when it was decided that picking up dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians would be a good thing to do, leading to the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

 

But Trump could never get over Sessions not taking one for the team. He tried to force him into taking back his recusal and couldn't. The further and further the investigation goes, the more and more it seems to upset Trump to the extent he wants to take it out on Sessions, as once he recused himself, it put Rosenstein in charge, who then pulled in Mueller to lead the probe. 

But after that they went on to work well together with regards to immigration. It was Sessions who announced the intention to end DACA and Sessions who announced the zero tolerance policy that brought about family separations.

 

Sessions turned in a letter of resignation on Trump's request on Wednesday and stated he had been "honored to serve as attorney general." He added that he "worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law that formed the central part of your campaign for the president." 

Trump tweeted that he was replacing Sessions on an acting basis with Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff. "We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service and wish him well!" Trump said in a tweet. "A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.

 

A Justice Department official said Whitaker will be taking over the special counsel investigation, though this role will be reviewed by ethics officials.  

Earlier in his career Whitaker was a legal commentator and said at the time that a replacement for Sessions could reduce Mueller's budget "so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt."

 

This is a big sign to Mueller to kick it in gear and get a report out before that happens. It seems with the Democrats taking the House and having the ability now to investigate Trump themselves that he's in a precarious position. 

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called Sessions before the president's news conference and told him Trump wanted him to resign.

 

Trump is said to like Whitaker as he's a "backslapping, football kind of guy, but it's not expected that he'll become the permanent attorney general. 

"I don't see him staying," said a Trump aide. "I think the president will be a lot more deliberate in interviewing potential replacements for Jeff Sessions." This would especially hold true if he's looking to have someone cause interference for him with the Mueller investigation.

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