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Sessions out, Whitaker in

US Canada

Within a day of the mid-term elections in the US, Jeff Sessions has resigned his position and Matthew Whitaker is named as the acting AG for the DOJ.

Hardly a surprise for the Executive Branch of the government, although the media pundits are outraged. Odd considering that Jeff Sessions was hardly a darling of the left or long term GOP members. He was nonetheless highly qualified to hold the position, but created a major problem for the Trump administration when he recused himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation. While many were preoccupied with Mreller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election, Sessions and his Inspector General Michael Horowitz were focused on another investigation into the FBI.

Horowitz became the Inspector General in 2012. In his role, Horowitz “oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 450 special agents, auditors, inspectors, attorneys, and support staff whose mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in Department operations.”

In March of 2018, Sessions informed Congress that he had also assigned US State Attorney (Utah), John Huber to investigate FBI corruption occuring both prior to and following Trump's election. In fact the investigation has been ongoing since at least November of 2017.

Sessions now had two bipartisan officials with unimpeachable qualifications pursuing those crimes and they reported directly to him.

Sessions departure signals the possibility that the investigations are close to completion. With Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as overseer of the Mueller investigation, that task would pass along to the non recused Acting AG Matthew Whitaker. Removing Rosenstein is long overdue considering it appears that he should not be supervising an investigation in which his own actions are implicated as being unethical at the least, and at worst... time will tell.

It is likely that Rosenstein will also resign shortly after Whitaker takes over the AG position. It's a logical process, and separates him from any perceived conflict of interest in the investigation.

Oddly, reports that Whitaker will fire Mueller are unlikely. It is probable however, Whitaker will refuse to expand the investigation, essentially forcing Mueller to wrap things up and present his findings. If the Democrats are upset with this outcome, it is likely because they already know there is no evidence of collusion on the part of Trump or his team, to warrant charges or impeachment.

Whitaker has a limited time frame in his position as Acting AG. The Vacancies Act enables the president to name an acting officer, who may serve as such for 210 days, as long as the person named has been working at the agency or department for at least 90 days in a fairly high-ranking position. He became Sessions Chief of Staff at the DOJ in October of 2017, so he is especially qualified.

What Horowitz and Huber know already will likely become the new focus for the AG, and one doubts the Democrats will like that. Huber has the authority to bring charges, assuming they have enough evidence. We won't know that until they conclude their investigation, but it appears that day maybe closer than many imagined, for those who were paying attention.