Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump on Nov. 7, according to reports.
Trump issued a statement, saying that “we thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
In a follow-up statement, Trump said his administration is “pleased to announce” that Matthew G. Whitaker, who was the chief of staff under Sessions, will become acting attorney general.
“He will serve our Country well,” said Trump of Whitaker.
The Associated Press and Fox News reported that Sessions, who was an early Trump supporter during the 2016 election and wore a “Make America Great Again” hat at a rally, submitted his resignation letter to Trump, ending his two-year tenure as head of the Department of Justice.
Sessions had faced pressure from Trump and other Republicans for his recusal from the investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into alleged Russian election interference during the 2016 election.
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump told the New York Times in an interview last year. “So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” he also asked on Twitter, with “A.G.” referring to Sessions.
In November 2017, Trump told reporters that “a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.” Meanwhile, several members of the House Freedom Caucus wrote in 2018 that “it would appear [Sessions] has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world.”
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, but it would appear he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world. It is time for Sessions to start managing in a spirit of transparency to bring all of this improper behavior to light and stop further violations. If Sessions can’t address this issue immediately, then we have one final question needing an answer: When is it time for a new attorney general?” wrote Rep. Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan in the Washington Examiner.
In July 2017, Sessions, while speaking in El Salvador during several anti-gang meetings, said that he was “blessed” to be attorney general.
“It is an honor I never expected nor one I ever would have thought possible,” Sessions said. “And while there are good days and bad days in any job, one thing has been clear to me, it is a privilege to serve one’s country in law enforcement to wake up each morning and fight the fight for the rule of law.”
He also stated: “That is what you do. It is hard work and often thankless, but the right to be safe in your community is the right on which all the others are based.”