U.S. Attorney General Sessions Resigns, Throwing Doubt On Russia Probe

Donald Trump

However, it would be an immediate priority for Democratic investigations when they officially take control of the House in January.

The probe has been criticised by Mr Sessions's successor Matthew Whitaker.

The Democrats, who won the House in the mid-terms, have vowed to protect it.

The switch, announced on Trump's Twitter feed, provoked instant consternation across Washington, where politicians from both sides of the aisle have long warned that political interference in Mueller's work can not be tolerated.

The resignation, in a one-page letter to Trump, came one day after Republicans lost control of the House and was the first of several expected post-midterms Cabinet and White House departures.

Democrats see this latest move as an attempt to do just that.

These comments have led Democrats - who this week took a majority in he House of Representatives following the midterm elections - to call on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.

Her words were echoed by Democratic party Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who added: "Clearly, the president has something to hide."

The senator said he found the timing of Sessions' departure "very suspect" and suggested it would cause a "constitutional crisis" if Trump made the move as a "prelude" to limiting the Russian Federation investigation. "I have done so to the best of my ability, working to support the fundamental legal processes that are the foundation of justice", Sessions wrote in his resignation letter.

There is some question whether Mr Sessions was sacked or resigned.

Incoming House Judiciary Chair Nadler announces Congress will investigate President Trump's removal of Attorney General Sessions.

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Mr Mueller could seek to challenge his own firing if he felt Whitaker lacked the good cause required by the special counsel regulation, said Mr Ohlin. Bob Goodlatte, demanding "emergency" hearings on Sessions' ouster and replacement with Whitaker.

Critics worry Whitaker may be unlikely or unwilling to defend the investigation, given his history of partisanship and loyalty to Trump.

Could the investigation be limited?

He also said there was no real evidence to support allegations Trump obstructed justice, and in an opinion article for The Hill newspaper he said Trump made the "right decision" by firing FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

There has also been a question mark over Mr Rosenstein's future since it was alleged that he had discussed invoking a constitutional clause to oust President Trump.

What does this mean for the Mueller probe?

That's stepping into the unknown, however. If Mr Mueller files a report detailing his conclusions, the new acting attorney general could keep the document from ever becoming public.

Those would be half-measures and insurance policies to limit damage.

During a brief stint previous year as a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker often appeared as a Trump defender, saying he saw no evidence the president colluded with Russians during the 2016 campaign or obstructed justice. But the former federal prosecutor went from being one of Trump's closest campaign advisers to an outcast.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being considered to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, two sources familiar with the matter tell CBS News.

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