WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“At your request I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote in a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Matthew Whitaker will take over as acting attorney general, the President said.
Whitaker is expected to take charge of the the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
The move is an abrupt end to what had been a tumultuous tenure for Sessions, originally one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal surrogates as an Alabama Republican senator. He was a key figure in effectuating Trump’s vision for America and significantly rolled back Obama-era policies on immigration, police reform and civil rights.
Sessions was an enforcer of much of the Trump administration’s hardline approach on immigration and regularly praised the President’s tough words on crime. But even as he continued to implement the Trump agenda, his relationship with the President remained strained and fraught for months due to the ongoing Mueller investigation.
Sessions received the request to resign from Kelly, not the President, on Wednesday morning, an administration official said. It is not clear whether Mueller was told ahead of time.
Trump did not answer a direct question about Sessions during his news conference Wednesday, saying that on the whole he is “extremely” satisfied with his Cabinet.