Attorney General Jeff Sessions has left his post on Wednesday, a day after Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives and Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.
President Donald Trump forced Sessions out, according to The New York Times. Sessions essentially said just that in the first line, saying that he was resigning at Trump’s “request.” It was delivered to Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly.
Trump did not address how or why the change came about. On Twitter, he wrote he was “pleased to announce” Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General and said simply, “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!”
….We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
The president had a strained relationship with Sessions, who recused himself from overseeing an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions’s recusal led to special counsel Robert Mueller being appointed to lead the probe.
“He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?’” Trump said earlier this year.
Sessions’s departure seemed in the pipeline.
Here is Sessions’s resignation letter in full:
Dear Mr. President,
At your request, I am submitting my resignation.
Since the day I was honored to be sworn in as Attorney General of the United States, I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country. I have done so to the best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice.
The team we assembled embraced your directive to be a law and order Department of Justice. We prosecuted the largest number of violent offenders and firearm defendants in our country’s history. We took on transnational gangs that are bringing violence and death across our borders and protected national security. We did our part to restore immigration enforcement. We targeted the opioid epidemic by prosecuting doctors, pharmacists, and anyone else who contributes to this crisis with new law enforcement tools and determination. And we have seen results. After two years of rising violent crime and homicides prior to this administration, those trends have reversed—thanks to the hard work of our prosecutors and law enforcement around the country.
I am particularly grateful to the fabulous men and women in law enforcement all over this country with whom I have served. I have had no greater honor than to serve alongside them. As I have said many times, they have my thanks and I will always have their backs.
Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law—a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard. We have operated with integrity and have lawfully and aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.
I have been honored to serve as Attorney General and have worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law that formed a central part of your campaign for the Presidency.
Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. President.
Jefferson B. Sessions III
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