After months of speculation about his tenure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from his position on Wednesday. In a letter to President Donald Trump, he said he was honored to serve at the Department of Justice and thanked the president. Subsequently, President Donald Trump tweeted that Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker will be designated as the new acting attorney general. Sessions had been targeted for more than a year for criticism by the president, who was apparently dissatisfied over the attorney general’s recusal in the investigation into supposed interference by Russia in the 2016 election that was eventually taken up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
....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
“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."
Sessions went on to say that under his guidance, DOJ tackled "violent offenders and firearm defendants," "transnational gangs that are bringing violence and death across our borders and protected national security."
"Most importantly," Sessions wrote, "...we have restored and upheld the rule of law --- a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard." 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."
BREAKING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned pic.twitter.com/0zXKa57QKd— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 7, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of Sessions' resignation: "Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation"