Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) might have stepped up to the podium at a Wednesday press conference expecting to talk midterms, but a developing story soon derailed those plans.
Schumer was in the middle of taking questions when he was handed a slip of paper, immediately eliciting an “Oh” from the top Senate Democrat.
As Schumer read the slip, a reporter asked for his reaction to the news that President Donald Trump had requested and accepted the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Watch the video below, via ABC:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Jeff Sessions' resignation: "Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation" https://t.co/Wo0XkefZ0G pic.twitter.com/fZW3YLUgjL
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 7, 2018
“I’ve just heard the news, but I’d say this: protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount,” Schumer said. “It would create a Constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation, and I hope President Trump and those he listens to will refrain from that.”
After the press conference, Schumer addressed Sessions’ resignation further on Twitter, saying the president “has something to hide” and called for Sessions’ acting replacement to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller 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.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 7, 2018
Following his Wednesday departure, Sessions was replaced with acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who formerly served as Sessions’ chief of staff.
BREAKING: Jeff Sessions has resigned as Attorney General, noting at the top of his letter he is doing so at the President's request. Trump tweets that Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker will become acting AG. Permanent replacement to be announced "at a later date" pic.twitter.com/eeLZwmGtrU
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 7, 2018
In a 2017 CNN op-ed, Whitaker expressed a belief that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had gone too far, arguing that examining the president’s personal finances would be overstepping his mandate.
“Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing,” Whitaker wrote of reports that Mueller would investigate the Trump family’s finances.