Washington: US President Donald Trump has fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions a day after midterms, wrestling back control of the Russia probe by getting rid of the man who supported it, and choosing the one who has said all negative things about the investigation.
“At your request I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote in a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday.
“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!” tweeted Trump, who has repeatedly criticised his top law enforcement official after he recused himself from the Russia investigation.
Trump said Sessions would temporarily be replaced by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who has slammed the Russia inquiry if not like Trump’s 160 times but enough to make the President happy, the CNN reported.
On Tuesday after the voters chose a divided government by handing the House majority back to Democrats, the CNN said Trump made his hallmark — the sort of I-do-what-feels-right-when-it-feels-right” move — just like it has been over the past three years.
And with the firing of Sessions, Trump appeared got back operational control of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Trump’s campaign and a foreign power.
Whitaker could hold the AG’s post for roughly 200 days because he has not been confirmed previously by the Senate. But it is his job in the next 100 days that would be crucial for Trump. The acting AG has already openly criticised the breadth of Mueller’s probe and even mused on this chain of events in a 2017 interview with CNN.
“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 almost a halt.”
Given Whitaker’s past comments, Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself from oversight of the Muller probe.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Trump said: “I stay away from it (Russia probe). But you know what I do? I let it just go on. They’re wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on, because I don’t want to do that. But you’re right; I could end it right now. I could say, ‘That investigation is over.'”