DOJ: Acting AG to take over oversight of Russia probe

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity MORE's pick to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known 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 Rosenstein5 myths about William Barr William Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress 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 SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Fox’s Wallace to Pence: Is government shutdown all about ‘leverage?' Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security 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.