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Trump fired Sessions: Here are four takeaways from the attorney general's tenure

Franco Ordonez and Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 24 hours after the midterms results came in.

Sessions was the first and perhaps most enthusiastic sitting senator to endorse Trump's presidential campaign, but his departure comes as no surprise. His removal was long expected after Trump spent much of Sessions' tenure berating the former Alabama Republican senator after he recused himself from the Russia investigation.

"I don't have an attorney general," Trump once said of Sessions, making clear he wanted an attorney general who would protect him. Sessions, a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recused himself because he had been one of Trump's campaign advisers during the period that other campaign staff met with Russians about opposition research on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump announced the decision Wednesday via Twitter and thanked him for his service.

Trump signaled during a lengthy news conference Wednesday that he would continue to shake up White House staff and Cabinet positions following the midterm loss of the House.

Some Republicans lament that the vacancies will be difficult to fill because they may not be able to recruit top tier staff to a chaotic White House. On Wednesday, Trump suggested he may replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has been criticized for lavish spending and is facing corruption allegations.

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Here are the key takeaways of Sessions removal:

--Changes in the Russia probe

On the Russia investigation, Session's departure would allow for a new attorney general to oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe and could limit the scope of what the special counsel can explore or shut down the entire investigation. The acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker -- currently Sessions' chief of staff -- has written opinion pieces that Mueller's probe should be shut down.

While Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- whose own job stability is uncertain -- took over the probe and appointed Mueller, a new attorney general presumably would not have the same conflicts as Sessions and could reassert his or her role.

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