DOJ: Acting AG to take over oversight of Russia probe

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE's pick to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFlorida sues CVS, Walgreens over sale of opioids Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Hillicon Valley: Russian-linked hackers may have impersonated US officials | Trump signs DHS cyber bill | Prosecutors inadvertently reveal charges against Assange | Accenture workers protest border enforcement work | App mines crypto for bail bonds MORE plans to take over oversight of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed Wednesday.

"The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice," DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement to The Hill.

The move means that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' MORE will no longer oversee the federal Russia investigation, which he has looked over since Sessions recused himself early last year due to his work on Trump's campaign.

Trump on Wednesday afternoon announced Matthew Whitaker, who served as Sessions's chief of staff at the DOJ, as his temporary replacement atop the department after abruptly ousting Sessions.

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Sessions agreed to resign at Trump’s request, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by The Hill.

Trump had long bashed his attorney general over his recusal in the Russia probe. Sessions, who was the first GOP senator to endorse Trump in his 2016 campaign, faced repeated and public attacks from the president during his tenure, including having Trump questioning whether he had an attorney general.

Whitaker has already come under scrutiny by top Democrats, who warn that his previous remarks about Mueller's probe suggest he is unfit to oversee the investigation.

"Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiCalif. congresswoman-elect bumps into Pelosi at airport Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Trump predicts Pelosi will be Speaker: ‘She deserves this’ MORE (D-Calif.) echoed this call.

Whitaker previously authored an op-ed for CNN that accused Mueller of going "too far."

"The President is absolutely correct. Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing," Whitaker wrote, calling for Rosenstein to "limit the scope" of Mueller's investigation.

Trump's move to oust Sessions comes one day after the midterm elections, with Democrats regaining a majority in the House.

Democrats have already indicated that they plan to conduct oversight on a series of matters relating to the Trump administration — including his move to oust Sessions on Wednesday.

"Americans must have answers immediately as to the reasoning behind @realDonaldTrump removing Jeff Sessions from @TheJusticeDept. Why is the President making this change and who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation? We will be holding people accountable," tweeted Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is the Democrat presumed to become chair of the House Judiciary Committee in the next Congress.