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Trump sacks US Attorney General Jeff Sessions; takes control of Russia meddling probe

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Wednesday sacked US Jeff Sessions, virtually taking operational control of a sensitive probe into foreign interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and

For months, Trump publicly attacked Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the probe in 2017, and blamed his decision for allowing Deputy to appoint a

Trump said Sessions will be temporarily replaced by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who is a Republican loyalist.

Now, with Whitaker at the helm, Trump has someone leading the Justice Department who has already suggested that Mueller's probe should be reined in.

reported that Deputy Rosenstein is no longer leading the Mueller inquiry, and that Whitaker will now assume control.

In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said, "We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, to Attorney General at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the He will serve our Country well (sic)."

"We thank Attorney General for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date," he tweeted.

Observers opine that Trump's move will have potential implication on Robert Mueller's probe as Whitaker has been overtly critical of the Mueller's team to investigate beyond allegations Trump's campaign colluded with in 2016 and other ties between the President, his family and aides, and Kremlin.

The wide-ranging investigation - overseen by the - has resulted in a series of criminal charges against several Trump associates.

Trump's tweet came less than an hour after his marathon press conference at the where he told reporters that he will making announcements about changes in his Cabinet and senior and Administrative positions in a week.

In a one-page resignation letter to the President, Sessions, a former who was an early supporter of Trump, made it clear that the resignation came "at your request".

"Since the day I was honoured to be sworn in as attorney general of the United States, I came to work at the every day determined to do my duty and serve my country," Sessions wrote.

"Dear Mr President, at your request I am submitting my resignation," he wrote in an undated letter.

"Most importantly, in my time as attorney general, we have restored and upheld the rule of law," Sessions added, while thanking the Republican

According to a official, Trump's called Sessions on Wednesday before the held a press conference.

The president cannot directly fire the special counsel, whose investigation Trump has repeatedly decried as a witch hunt. But Sessions' replacement will have the power to fire Mueller or end the inquiry, US said.

Reacting to Trump's move, said, "Clearly, the president has something to hide."

"Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general," Schumer said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 08 2018. 13:50 IST