A day after the Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats in the mid-term Congressional elections, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to quit office by President Donald Trump.
The resignation came after more than a year of public criticism by the US president of Sessions' decision to step aside from the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential poll that Trump won.
In a one-page letter to Trump, Sessions said he was submitting his resignation "at your request."And in a tweet, Trump announced that he was naming Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. "We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date," Trump said.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The investigation has so far has resulted in a series of criminal charges against several Trump associates.
Whitaker will now oversee the investigation. "It's danger time," said former US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump.
Sessions' forced resignation has led Democratic lawmakers to say that Trump is seeking to derail the inquiry as it nears an end.
Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi called the decision a "blatant attempt" to end or impede the investigation.
Trump retorted, saying "If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!"But his Republican colleagues in the Senate like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said that Mueller must be allowed to continue his Russia investigation. "It is imperative that the Administration not impede the Mueller investigation Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his work without interference," said Collins.
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