Such a crisis could emerge from different interpretations of the first sentence of Sessions's letter to Trump: "Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation". He took credit for reversing a recent rise in violent crime and for taking a hardline stance on illegal immigration and gangs.
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. But Sessions also thought that by staying in the job, he had protected the integrity of the investigation, the person said.
Trump and Sessions have clashed since the 2017 inauguration.
Jeff Sessions has resigned as attorney general, it was announced on Wednesday.More news: Late turnaround keeps Tottenham Hotspur alive in Champions League
The president's frustrations with his attorney general have at times publicly boiled into what appeared to be anger over many issues related to the Justice Department's Russian Federation election meddling probe. Trump belittled Sessions but, perhaps following the advice of aides, held off on firing him.
In late September, the New York Times reported that Whitaker was likely to replace Rosenstein as deputy AG because he's known for having Trump's vote of confidence. The attorney general recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election due to meetings with a Russian diplomat he did not disclose during his Senate confirmation process. Trump wrote in a tweet. Whitaker noted that federal regulations still gave the attorney general power over the budget for a special counsel.
Sessions, for instance, directed senior prosecutors to examine potential corruption in a uranium field transaction that some Republicans have said may have implicated Clinton in wrongdoing and benefited donors of the Clinton Foundation.
The departure creates uncertainty at the Justice Department, but also for special counsel Robert Mueller's office, which is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the United States election that delivered a Trump White House.