President Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, increasing the possibility that the president could also sideline Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Democratic congressional leaders reacted to the news of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' firing on Wednesday by warning that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential Russian Federation collusion must be safeguarded from interference.
Trump has named Sessions' Chief of staff Matthew Whitaker acting Attorney General.
He later backed Mr Trump's controversial ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
He also said Mr Sessions' replacement might reduce Mr Mueller's budget "so low that his investigation grinds nearly to a halt".
Trump and Whitaker personally discussed the prospect of his replacing Sessions just last month, according to The Washington Post.
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On Twitter in 2017, Whitaker also disparaged the Mueller investigation as a "lynch mob", and mocked the president's legal team for not defending him strongly enough.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said that the acting attorney general - meaning Whitaker - is in charge of "all matters" within the department, including the Russian Federation probe.
Sessions' abrupt departure from the Justice Department is nearly certainly related to the Democrats' victory in the House of Representatives, and its implications in the Special Counsel investigation.
Matthew worked as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. "He has dedicated his whole life to conservatism and upholding the Rule of Law", Graham said in a statement Wednesday after Trump's announcement.
During the 2016 presidential primary season, Bondi said she had been friends with Mr. Trump "for many years".
Sessions said that he did not think he should lead the investigation since he had been a Trump campaign surrogate.
Whitaker, on the other hand, emerged quickly after his appointment as a force within the DOJ favored by Trump, a regular critic of both Sessions and Rosenstein.