Among this week’s biggest losers are Andrew Gillum (Florida governor), Beto O’Rourke (Texas Senate), Stacey Abrams (Georgia governor) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who submitted his resignation letter on Wednesday.
Sessions said he stepped down at the president’s request.
“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,” wrote Sessions. “I have done so to the very best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice.”
Sessions’ Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, will serve as Acting AG until a permanent replacement is found, said Trump.
Having secured a greater majority in the Senate this week, getting a replacement should be easy.
In the meantime, Whitaker is expected to take over for Rod Rosenstein in overseeing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Rosenstein, who hired Mueller after Trump fired former FBI director James Comey, took charge of the investigation after Sessions recused himself from all matters related to the 2016 election (a decision that put him permanently on Trump’s shit list). And despite his active role in implementing Trump’s at times controversial policies on immigration, police reform, and civil rights, Sessions never managed to get back into the president’s favor.
Sessions’ key accomplishments include:
- Threatened sanctuary cities with loss of funding
- Announced Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration
- Ordered federal prosecutors to seek maximum charges against drug dealers
“As our country’s top law enforcement official, [Sessions] has been integral in fighting the opioid epidemic, keeping violent criminals off our streets, and supporting victims,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). “Those who know him understand his commitment to the rule of law, and his deep and abiding concern for our country…I hope everyone will join me in honoring his public service to the country.”
Democrats are already calling on Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia probe considering his previous calls to limit the scope of the investigation.
“It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting” the Russia probe, said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The Russia investigation has already facilitated the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, guilty pleas from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, and the indictment of several Russians.