In a move that had been long-discussed after President Trump repeatedly and publicly criticized him several times, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday at the president’s request.
In his undated letter to President Trump, Sessions says he’s grateful for the opportunity he was given and that he “came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country.” Matthew Whitaker, who was Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, will step in as acting AG.
Sessions’ firing raises questions about what happens now regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sessions had recused himself from the investigation and handed oversight to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein. Sessions’ resignation means that the new acting AG, Matthew Whitaker, would be responsible for overseeing Mueller’s investigation. Democratic lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from the probe.
What are the legal dimensions of Sessions’ forced resignation? And what does it mean for the future of the Mueller probe? Who might be on the shortlist to replace him?
Saikrishna Prakash, professor of law at the University of Virginia, his focus includes separation of powers, constitutional law, foreign relations law and presidential powers
Lori Cox Han, professor of political science at Chapman University and author of several books; her latest is “Women, Power, and Politics: The Fight for Gender Equality in the United States” (Oxford University Press, 2018)