Donald Trump sacks Attorney-General Jeff Sessions in wake of midterms losses


US President Donald Trump has sacked his Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, one day after the Republicans lost control of Congress in the midterm elections.

The move came after Mr Trump repeatedly criticised Mr Sessions, 71, for recusing himself from an investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential race.

Mr Sessions announced his resignation in a letter to Mr Trump, saying the resignation came at "your request".

Mr Sessions' departure was widely expected in the wake of the midterms, which saw Republicans retain their majority in the Senate but lose control of the House of Representatives.

Acting Attorney-General Matthew Whitaker will oversee all matters under the Justice Department's purview, including the Russia probe that had been supervised by Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, a department spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

External Link: CNN tweet of Sessions letter

In a tweet, Mr Trump thanked Mr Sessions for his service, and wished him well.

He said a permanent replacement would be nominated at a later date.

Donald Trump clashes with reporters in a fiery press conference.

The announcement came soon after Mr Trump held an at times raucous press conference at the White House, where he slammed fellow Republicans and the media for his party's losses in yesterday's midterms.

Mr Trump also got into a fiery exchange with CNN reporter Jim Acosta, after he asked the US leader about his rhetoric on immigration and the Russia probe.

Bitter relationship after Russia recusal

A composite photo of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump.

Mr 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 investigation into potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Moscow.

The probe has already yielded a series of criminal charges against several of Mr Trump's associates and has dogged his presidency.

Never in modern history has a president attacked a Cabinet member as frequently and harshly in public as Mr Trump did Mr Sessions following his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

The President has often used Twitter to air his frustrations with Mr Sessions. In September, he criticised him for indicting two Republican congressmen ahead of the midterm elections.

External Link: @realDonaldTrump: The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now.

Mr Sessions had been one of the first members of Congress to back his presidential campaign in 2015.

Rejecting White House entreaties not to do so, Mr Sessions stepped aside from overseeing the FBI probe, citing news reports of previously undisclosed meetings he had with Russia's ambassador to Washington as his reason.

Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein took over supervision of the Russia investigation and in May 2017 appointed Mr Mueller as the Justice Department's special counsel, taking over the FBI's Russia probe after Mr Trump fired FBI director James Comey.

Mr Rosenstein also has faced criticism from Mr Trump.

A permanent replacement for Mr Sessions must be confirmed by the US Senate, which Mr Trump's Republicans will continue to control as a result of the midterm elections.