The Latest: Jeff Sessions forced out as attorney general
Acting attorney general expected to oversee special counsel Russia investigation
WASHINGTON – The Latest on Jeff Sessions' resignation as attorney general and President Trump's reaction to the midterms:
The new acting attorney general says he's honored that President Donald Trump has confidence in his ability to lead the Justice Department.
Matthew Whitaker said in a statement Wednesday that he is committed to "leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards, that upholds the rule of law, and seeks justice for all Americans."
Whitaker says Jeff Sessions, who was forced out Wednesday, has been a "dedicated public servant for over 40 years." He calls Sessions a man of integrity "who has served this nation well."
Whitaker became acting attorney general after Sessions resigned from the Justice Department. Sessions said in his resignation letter that the move was made at Trump's request.
Jeff Sessions has left the Justice Department for his last time as attorney general.
Sessions walked out Wednesday evening to applause from more than 150 employees who gathered in a courtyard at the Justice Department.
As he left, Sessions appeared emotional and said, "Thank you" and "God bless," before hopping into a waiting SUV.
He also shook hands with his chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday after Sessions resigned at the president's request.
Whitaker told Sessions: "It's been an honor, sir."
Trump's relationship with Sessions frayed just weeks into his tenure, when he stepped aside from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between the president's Republican campaign and Russia.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is warning the Trump administration not to undermine the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller following Attorney General Jeff Sessions' resignation.
In a tweet Wednesday, Collins expressed concern about the administration's announcement that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe into possible coordination between Trump's 2016 Republican campaign and Russia.
She tweeted: "It is imperative that the Administration not impede the Mueller investigation." She added: "Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his work without interference_regardless of who is AG."
Sessions resigned Wednesday at the president's request. His chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, is now expected to oversee the Mueller investigation.
Whitaker once mused about a situation in which Trump could fire Sessions and then appoint an acting attorney general who could stifle the funding of Mueller's investigation.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to oversee the special counsel's investigation into potential coordination between the president's Republican campaign and Russia now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned.
Asked Wednesday if Whitaker would take control of the probe, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores said Whitaker would be "in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice."
President Donald Trump named Whitaker as acting attorney general after Sessions resigned Wednesday. Whitaker had served as Sessions' chief of staff.
He once mused about a situation in which Trump could fire Sessions and then appoint an acting attorney general who could stifle the funding of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Trump's relationship with Sessions frayed just weeks into his tenure, when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has overseen Mueller's work.
The top Democrat on the House oversight committee says Congress should investigate "the real reason" for the "termination" of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland says it is not acceptable if President Donald Trump requested Sessions' resignation to interfere with the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.
Sessions announced his resignation Wednesday.
Cummings is also pushing for Congress to "confirm" that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is recused from overseeing the investigation. Whitaker is expected to oversee the investigation despite being critical of it in public statements and chairing the campaign of a witness in the probe.
Cummings is set to chair his committee in January when Democrats take control of the House.
The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee says he wants "answers immediately" after Jeff Sessions was forced out as attorney general by President Donald Trump.
Rep. Jerry Nadler is in line to become the chairman of the Judiciary panel when Democrats take control of the House in January. He tweeted that "we will be holding people accountable."
Trump has long expressed frustration with Sessions over his recusal from the Justice Department's Russia investigation. Democrats worry that firing Sessions is a path to removing special counsel Robert Mueller and trying to end the probe.
Nadler says he wants to know why Trump is making the change and "who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller's investigation?"
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says it is "paramount" that the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller be protected by President Donald Trump's new attorney general.
Trump forced Jeff Sessions out as attorney general on Wednesday after the midterm elections. The president said Sessions' chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, would replace him for now, with a permanent replacement coming later.
Schumer says he finds the timing of Sessions' departure "very suspect." The New York Democrat says it would spark a "constitutional crisis" if Trump forced out Sessions as a "prelude" to ending or limiting Mueller's investigation.
Trump and Sessions had a falling out after the attorney general recused himself from Mueller's investigation. The president has repeatedly belittled Sessions in public and expressed regret about appointing him.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned as the country's chief law enforcement officer.
Sessions announced his plan to resign in a letter to the White House on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker would become the new acting attorney general.
The attorney general had endured more than a year of stinging and personal criticism from Trump over his recusal from the investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Trump blamed the decision for opening the door to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the Russia investigation and began examining whether Trump's hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct justice.
President Donald Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting with his North Korean counterpart was postponed but is being rescheduled.
Pompeo had been scheduled to meet with Kim Yong Chol in New York on Thursday.
Trump says he's likely to meet with the North Korea leader early next year and there's "no rush" to engaging in denuclearization talks with Pyongyang.
Trump met Kim Jong Un in June for a landmark meeting in Singapore, where the two leaders agreed on vague goals of denuclearization. There's been little progress since then.
North Korea has continued a yearlong halt in weapon tests but wants U.S. sanctions eased. In recent days, North Korea criticized the U.S. for its continued support of sanctions and hinted it may resume nuclear development.
Trump says he'd "love to take the sanctions off" but North Korea has to make concessions, too.
President Donald Trump says he would consider raising other tax rates to pay for a middle-class tax cut.
Trump said at a Wednesday press conference that if Democrats offer an idea for tax cuts he would work with them, even if it would require "some adjustment" to other rates.
The president did not say what any changes to rates could look like but said, "I would certainly be willing to do a little bit." He says Democrats would need to propose a plan, given that he would need bipartisan support in the Senate.
Trump said during the midterm campaign that he would offer a plan for a 10 percent middle income tax cut. But he has not provided any details. Republicans passed a massive tax cut package last year.
President Donald Trump says Vice President Mike Pence will be his running mate in 2020, impromptu confirmation that could give sign makers a head start on printing political signs for the next presidential election.
In the middle of a news conference at the White House on Wednesday, the Republican president was unexpectedly asked if Pence would be on the ticket.
Trump said he hadn't asked Pence yet but then turned to the vice president and said: "Mike, will you be my running mate? Will you?"
Pence acknowledged that he would.
President Donald Trump has sparred with reporters at his post-election news conference, ordering several to sit down and telling another he's a "rude, terrible" person.
He told yet another reporter he's "not a fan of yours, either."
The president's mood turned sour Wednesday after reporters pressed him on why he referred to a migrant caravan making its way to the U.S. on foot through Mexico as an "invasion." Trump ramped up his anti-immigrant rhetoric against the caravan in the final days of the midterm elections.
Trump was also pressed on why his campaign aired an ad featuring a Mexican immigrant convicted of killing American police officers and linking the man's actions to the caravan.
Several television networks pulled the ad after airing it or declined to air it at all.
President Donald Trump says he's happy with "most" of his Cabinet as he suggests changes may be coming.
Trump said at a Wednesday press conference that he is "looking at different people for different positions," adding that "it is very common after the midterms."
Asked specifically about the future of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump says, "I'd rather answer that at a little bit different time."
Trump has long been frustrated with Sessions over his recusal from the Russia investigation. Rosenstein's future appeared uncertain after reports that he discussed secretly recording Trump.
On Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZIN'-kee), Trump says he wants to "study whatever is being said." Trump adds that he's doing an "excellent job." Zinke faces a series of inquiries into his conduct.
President Donald Trump is warning House Democrats about spending the remaining years of his presidency investigating him and the administration.
Trump said at a post-election news conference Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans should set aside partisanship to work together for the American people.
Democrats won back control of the House. Many have threatened to use the subpoena power they will gain in January to investigate Trump and administration actions.
Trump says he's been hearing about investigations since he began running for president and refers to it as "investigation fatigue."
He says he will respond in kind if House Democrats flood his administration with subpoenas and government will come to a halt.
Trump adds that Democrats have "nothing, zero" on him.
President Donald Trump is calling out Republican candidates who apparently did not support him enough and lost congressional seats in Tuesday's elections.
At a news conference in the White House East Room on Wednesday, Trump crowed that Republicans held control of the Senate and then took aim at members of the House, where the GOP lost.
Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado blames his loss on resentment toward Trump in his Denver-area district. The president responded: "Too bad, Mike."
Trump says Utah Rep. Mia Love "gave me no love, and she lost," even though the race was too close to call.
Trump says his vigorous campaigning stopped a so-called "blue wave," ''if there ever was such a thing."
The GOP is expected to add to its Senate edge, but Democrats regained control of the House.
President Donald Trump says Republicans "defied history" in the midterms as he seeks to take credit for expected Republican gains in the Senate while minimizing House losses.
Trump discussed the election results at a White House press conference on Wednesday. He says Republicans "dramatically outperformed historical precedents."
The GOP is expected to add to its Senate edge, but Democrats regained control of the House. The mixed verdict in the first nationwide election of Trump's presidency showed the limits of his hardline immigration rhetoric in today's political landscape.
Midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House. Trump stressed the anticipated Republican pickups in the Senate and said the GOP had surpassed expectations in the House, citing the high number of retirements.
President Donald Trump says Democrat Nancy Pelosi "deserves" to be the next House speaker.
Democrats won back control of the chamber in Tuesday's election and Pelosi would be in line to be elected speaker. The California Democrat was the nation's first female speaker from 2007-2011. But a number of House Democratic candidates have said they won't support her for the top role.
Trump said Wednesday that "if they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!"
House Democrats meet later this month to elect party leaders and Pelosi is expected to win most of those votes. But being elected speaker in January requires a majority of House votes.
Pelosi has been up front about not wanting to pursue impeaching Trump.
President Donald Trump is warning Democrats against using their new majority in the House of Representatives to investigate his administration. He said in a tweet Wednesday that if they do, the Republican-controlled Senate may investigate Democrats.
With the Democrats in the majority they will have the power to launch investigations and subpoena records, including possibly Trump's tax filings and private business dealings.
Trump said that if the Democrats plan to "waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level," then Republicans "will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level."
He said that "two can play that game!"
It wasn't clear what leaks he was referring to.
Asked about potential investigations, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a CNN interview Wednesday that "the president is not nervous about anything."
President Donald Trump is praising candidates who embraced his policies and principles during the midterm election, saying they "did very well."
In a tweet Wednesday, Trump tells those candidates who avoided him to "say goodbye!"
Trump campaigned repeatedly for Republican Senate and gubernatorial candidates in Missouri, West Virginia, North Dakota, Florida, Georgia and other states where he won in 2016. Several of those candidates won their races Tuesday night, while other contests remained too close to call.
Trump says Tuesday's "Big Win" for Republicans was achieved "all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!"
But Tuesday didn't bring complete good news for Republicans; Democrats won back control of the House.
Trump is scheduled to "discuss our success in the Midterms!" at a White House news conference later Wednesday.
President Donald Trump will address the midterm election results at a late-morning White House news conference.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Twitter that Trump will take questions from reporters at the White House at 11:30 a.m. EST.
Democrats took back control of the House from Trump's Republican Party. But the GOP gained ground in the Senate by defeating several Democrats in states where Trump was elected by wide margins in 2016. Republicans also preserved governorships in key states like Ohio and Florida.
Trump campaigned aggressively in the closing days of the campaign, mostly to help Republican Senate candidates.
With the loss of the Republican majority in the House, President Donald Trump is facing the prospect of endless House investigations and fresh questions about the resilience of his unorthodox political coalition.
Still, he celebrated GOP success hanging on to the Senate and distanced himself from any blame. Late Tuesday, Trump tweeted: "Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!" Early Wednesday, Trump added: "Now we can all get back to work and get things done!"
On Tuesday, Trump called House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a conversation that her office said included congratulations and a nod to her pitch for bipartisanship.
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