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(BBC) — US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been fired by President Donald Trump.
Mr Trump announced in a tweet that Mr Sessions would be temporarily replaced by his own chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker.
The president has repeatedly criticised Mr Sessions, a former Republican senator and early supporter of Mr Trump’s longshot candidacy.
“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!” Mr Trump wrote on Wednesday.
In a resignation letter, Mr Sessions made clear the decision was not his own.
“Dear Mr President, at your request I am submitting my resignation,” he wrote.
“Most importantly as my time as attorney general, we have restored and upheld the rule of law,” Mr Sessions added, while thanking the Republican president.
Mr Trump has repeatedly pilloried his top law enforcement official since Mr Sessions stepped aside from the Russia investigation in March 2017, allowing his deputy Rod Rosenstein to lead an inquiry that has dogged the White House.
In July 2017 Mr Trump told the New York Times: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
Mr Trump has at various times belittled Mr Sessions as “beleaguered”, “VERY weak”, and “DISGRACEFUL”.
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