The wind may have changed in the White House administration. President Donald Trump fired his attorney general on Wednesday and replaced him with a former federal prosecutor who has already been critical of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Just a day after the midterm elections, Trump shared the news in a tweet. A Justice Department spokeswoman said shortly afterward that Sessions’ chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, would have responsibility for overseeing Mueller.
Democrats quickly warned after hearing the news that there may be a “constitutional crisis” arising due to Trump’s “fear of being implicated” in crimes.
Whitaker wrote in an essay for CNN last year that Mueller was “dangerously close to crossing” a “red line” by considering broadening his investigation to include a probe of the Trump family’s business dealings.
“It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else,” he wrote then.
“That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”
Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat and likely challenger to Trump in 2020, said about Session’s firing: “Jeff Sessions’ firing at the hands of the President is an alarming development that brings us one step closer to a constitutional crisis. I’m concerned that President Trump made this decision based on his fear of being implicated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and frustration with Sessions’ recusal from that investigation.”
Rep. Adam Schiff agreed: “The firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions places the Special Counsel’s investigation in new and immediate peril. It is abundantly clear that Sessions was forced out for following the advice of ethics lawyers at the Department of Justice and recusing himself from the Russia probe.”
Sessions wrote a resignation letter to the president but made it clear that he did not willingly vacate his position as America’s top law enforcement officer.
“At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” he wrote.
A senior Republican congressional aide said in October that Whitaker was put in place to run Sessions’ DOJ office “as a grooming exercise.”
“The feeling there is that he’s the heir apparent, that he’ll be the next attorney general, unless someone who’s bulletproof and has a big name wants the job,” the aide said.
At a news conference just after the midterm elections, President Trump did not give Sessions a vote of confidence. The president had refused to say if Sessions had job security.
“I’d rather answer that at a little bit different time. Were looking at a lot of things,” Trump said. “I’m very happy with most of my Cabinet. We’re looking at different people for different positions.”
“I know it’s very common after the midterms. I didn’t want to do anything before the midterms, but I will tell you that for the most part, I am extremely happy with my Cabinet.”
Credit: Daily Mail