President Trump has been saying for 18 months that he wanted to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He’s been saying for 18 months that he thought Sessions was disloyal for having recused himself from the Russia investigation and given day-to-day control over the investigation to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. And, of course, Trump has been saying for 18 months that he wanted an attorney general who was personally loyal to him, in the say way that the late Roy Cohn was a loyal legal pitbull.
Why is anyone surprised that he’s now done what he said he was going to do? Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the midterm polls closed, Trump requested and received the attorney general’s resignation and appointed Matthew Whitaker, the chief of staff in the Department of Justice, as the interim replacement, pending the nomination and confirmation of Sessions’s successor. The only surprise is in the timing—Trump moved far more rapidly than anyone might have anticipated. But the end result was, by any measure, a foregone conclusion.
What does this all mean for the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and what can we expect going forward?