Manchin: We're 'on the verge' of a constitutional crisis due to Sessions's firing

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinStatesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Both sides have reason to want speedy Trump impeachment trial No one wins with pro-abortion litmus test MORE (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that the U.S. is on the "verge" of a constitutional crisis because of the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE

"I think it’s a big mistake to let Sessions go," Manchin, who was the only Democratic senator to vote to confirm the former attorney general, said on "CBS This Morning."

Manchin pointed to the potential ramifications Sessions's ouster could have on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE's investigation into Russia's election interference to back up his claim. 

His comments came just a day after Sessions formally resigned from his role at the Department of Justice at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE's request. Trump announced on Twitter on Wednesday that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, will serve as acting attorney general. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Whitaker, who has publicly criticized certain elements of the Mueller investigation, will now oversee it.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE had been overseeing the probe since Sessions recused himself in early 2017. 

Democratic lawmakers, including Manchin, have criticized Whitaker's oversight of the Mueller probe.

"What raises my concerns is a person that's been so vocal against the investigation that was going on is [put] in charge a day after the [midterm] election," Manchin told CBS. "I think that gives concern to every senator, Democrat and Republican. We are a country — the rule of law is everything.

"Looking like it's been tilted one way or the other is wrong."

Trump has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a "witch hunt," and on Wednesday said that he could fire everyone in Mueller's office if he wanted. He said he would not take that step for political reasons, however.