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Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered his resignation on Wednesday, a day after the midterm elections.
According to Sessions’ resignation letter, his move came at the request of President Donald Trump.
Trump had indicated during a news conference earlier in the day there would be changes in his cabinet now that the midterm elections were over.
He tweeted afterwards that Matthew Whitaker, chief of staff to the Attorney General, would be taking over for Sessions.
“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,” Trump wrote.
“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date,” Trump added.
Trump had voiced his frustration with Sessions on multiple occasions following the DOJ chief’s decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation in March 2017.
The president stated that he never would have appointed Sessions had he known the former Alabama senator would make that decision, which precipitated the naming of Robert Mueller as special counsel over the Russia probe.
In his resignation letter, Sessions defended his tenure as AG writing that he and his colleagues at the DOJ “have restored and upheld the rule of law” and “aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.”
He cited efforts directed toward enforcing immigration laws and cracking down on “transnational gangs,” as well as prosecuting those contributing to the opioid epidemic.
AG Sessions has submitted his letter of resignation to President Trump. pic.twitter.com/Tf6Eyj2hH9
— Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae) November 7, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said during an interview on Fox News in August that the relationship between Trump and Sessions “ain’t working.”
“If they can’t repair this relationship, and I don’t see that happening, the president deserves an attorney general he feels confident in that can lead the Department of Justice in a more effective way,” Graham stated.
He counseled at the time for Trump to wait until after the midterm elections to make a change.
In a statement following Sessions’ resignation, Graham dispelled any rumors that he would be replacing him, tweeting that “I will be part of a larger Republican majority in the United States Senate.”
.@LindseyGrahamSC on @jeffsessions retirement & rumors he'll replace him: “As to me, I will be part of a larger Republican majority in the United States Senate — working with the President and my Republican and Democratic colleagues — to make America safer and more prosperous.” pic.twitter.com/HUsHSub6vp
— Abigail Robertson (@AbigailCBN) November 7, 2018
Graham added, “I look forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor (to Sessions) so that we can start a new chapter at the Department of Justice and deal with both the opportunities and challenges our nation faces.”