Trump's state department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired over Russia probe

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Trump and Sessions button their blue coats as they stand for the national anthem.

US President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions button their coats as they stand for the national anthem at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, Dec. 15, 2017. 

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired on Wednesday after unrelenting criticism from President Donald Trump over his recusal from an investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential race.

Related: Watch: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies about his contacts with Russians

Related: Jeff Sessions recuses himself from investigation; the Russian ambassador is once again at the center of controversy

Sessions' departure was widely expected to come soon after Tuesday's congressional elections in which Republicans retained their majority in the Senate but lost control of the House of Representatives.

Never in modern history has a president attacked a Cabinet member as frequently and harshly in public as Trump did Sessions, 71, who had been one of the first members of Congress to back his presidential campaign in 2015.

Related: Trump declares 'new era of justice,' swears in attorney general

Trump announced Sessions' departure on Twitter. Sessions said in a letter to Trump he resigned at the president's request. Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will be acting attorney general, Trump said on Twitter.

Sessions departs as the nation's top law enforcement officer while Special Counsel Robert Mueller, operating under the auspices of the Justice Department, pursues a wide-ranging Russia investigation that already has yielded a series of criminal charges against several of Trump's associates and has dogged his presidency.

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