Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Trump.
Trump had frequently criticized Sessions for recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Trump has described as a witch-hunt. Trump has also frequently attacked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation.
Matthew Whitaker, who has mused about de-funding Mueller’s investigation, has been named acting attorney general.
In response to the news, Brennan Center president Michael Waldman said in a statement:
This is a moment to be vigilant. The President has fired his chief law enforcement official and replaced him with someone who may show willingness to imperil the special counsel investigation. Everyone committed to the rule of law and the separation of powers should demand that the president take no action that would interfere with the course of Robert Mueller’s investigation.
President Trump has already shown a willingness to interfere with the rule of law and the independence of investigations. Now everything is on the line. Does the President launch a constitutional crisis, or does he respect the laws and guardrails that protect our democracy? Congress should act now to shield the investigation, protect Mueller from firing, and ensure that any inquiries into the president, his family, or the actions of Russia in our 2016 election are held sacrosanct.
A recent Brennan Center report offered proposals for upholding the rule of law and protecting the independence of law enforcement.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty