Trump ousts U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announces interim replacement

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned as the country's chief law enforcement officer at President Donald Trump's request. Sessions submitted his resignation to President Donald Trump on November 7.

Sessions, who is said to have tended his resignation by letter, angered Trump by recusing himself from a probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Whitaker, who is at least temporarily replacing Sessions, said in a 2017 CNN interview that "I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced, it would recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to nearly a halt".

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, later appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has had a contentious relationship with Trump in the past, is now still overseeing the Russian Federation probe.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat representing CT, took issue with the language around Sessions' resignation, noting the embattled AG was sacked by his boss and did not leave voluntarily.

Trump and Whitaker personally discussed the prospect of his replacing Sessions just last month, according to The Washington Post.

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Sessions tendered his resignation at the president's request, but thanked Trump for the opportunity.

"It is nearly impossible not to interpret this any other way than to undercut Mueller", he said.

"I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced", Whitaker said, "and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to nearly a halt".

"The Trump Organization's business dealings are plainly not within the scope of the investigation, nor should they be", Whitaker added in that August 6, 2017, op-ed. The New York Democrat says it would spark a "constitutional crisis" if Trump forced out Sessions as a "prelude" to ending or limiting Mueller's investigation.

The firing of the attorney general is no shock - but nobody expected it to come quite so soon after the midterms. Sessions' exit also opens up the question of who will permanently fill the position.

That's the type of statement by the commander in chief that makes it all the more important that the officials at Justice Department are clearly not going by direction from the White House, but instead are following the facts and doing the law.

"I'd rather answer that at a little bit different time", Trump had said.