- Attorney General Jeff Sessions received a standing ovation as he left the Justice Department building following his forced resignation on Wednesday.
- President Donald Trump asked Sessions to resign, just hours after the close of what has been a heated midterm-election season.
- “It’s been an honour, sir,” acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said to Sessions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions received a standing ovation as he left the Justice Department building following his forced resignation on Wednesday.
Sessions reportedly shook hands with acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, his former chief of staff, amid a crowd of around 150 people.
“It’s been an honour, sir,” Whitaker said to Sessions, according to the Associated Press.
Sessions waved and thanked the crowd, at one point giving them a thumbs-up. Other senior Justice Department officials, including deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and solicitor general Noel Francisco, were also reportedly at the send-off.
After months-long reports of a frayed relationship with Trump, the former attorney general offered his resignation in an undated letter.
Two months after Trump became president, Sessions attracted his ire after recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Sessions, who backed Trump early on in his 2016 presidential campaign, cited a Justice Department regulation that prohibits officials from investigating campaigns they were involved in.
Trump publicly berated Sessions in fiery statements and tweets as the months dragged on, fuelling rumours Sessions would be on his firing line. According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Trump made pointed remarks against Sessions, such as calling him “mentally retarded” and “dumb Southerner.”
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Jeff Sessions has left the building. He exited to a crowd of at least 150 applauding DOJ employees. He shook hands with new acting AG Matt Whitaker, DAG Rod Rosenstein, SG Noel Francisco, and Civil Division head Jody Hunt. He gave a thumbs up and got into a waiting SUV pic.twitter.com/JOmVlAs2vz
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 7, 2018