(CBS News/WIAT) — President Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned. Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, will become acting attorney general.
“At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote to the president Wednesday. He touted the department’s initiatives, saying that the Justice Department had taken on “transnational gangs that are bringing violence and death across our borders and protected national security” and noted efforts on immigration enforcement and the opioid epidemic.
Earlier Wednesday at the president’s press conference, CBS News’ Major Garrett had asked about potential changes in his Cabinet, in particular, whether Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would remain with the administration.
The president didn’t offer a direct answer, saying only, “We’re looking at different people for different positions.” He added that he is mostly “extremely happy” with his Cabinet.
Two hours before the news broke, former senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the position after it was vacated by Sessions, tweeted “Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2020! #alpolitics.”
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) released a statement praising Sessions after his resignation:
“Thank you to my good friend, Jeff Sessions, for over 40 years of noble service to Alabama and our country. Jeff was a respected colleague of mine in the Senate for two decades and represented our nation with honor as the U.S. Attorney General. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Congressman Robert Aderholt (R) released a statement:
““Having served with Jeff Sessions in Congress, I can honestly say that he has always been someone who is of the utmost character and ability. I know he worked every day to uphold the law in all fairness to everyone. He has done great work enforcing our immigration laws, fighting gangs and opioid abuse and upholding religious liberties. Jeff, and his wife Mary, have been good friends with Caroline and me. We wish them the best in whatever is in store for them in the next chapter of their lives.”
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) reacted to the news as it broke in the middle of a post-Midterm election press conference he was holding in Washington, D.C. –
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey released this statement:
“Jeff Sessions is a great American and a great Alabamian. He has served Alabama and the United States with honor and dignity over his more than three decades of public service. I wish him well as he moves into a new chapter in his career.”
Sen. Doug Jones, (D-Ala.) commented, “For nearly two years, the President has done a disservice to the American people by leveling unfair attacks against our law enforcement agencies. He has also diminished the importance of the legitimate investigation of Russian election interference by labeling it a ‘witch hunt.’ Now, with the firing of Attorney General Sessions today, I am concerned that he will use this opportunity to exert control over Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. It is even more vital now that Congress takes action to protect the investigation. I remain deeply concerned about the targeted and well-funded efforts by Russia to undermine our democracy and influence our elections, particularly those yet to come.”