Embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the "request" of President Donald Trump on Wednesday after more than a year of public criticism from the president.
Sessions's chief of staff Matthew Whitaker will serve as acting attorney general, Trump announced.
Whitaker also will assume oversight of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible collusion by Trump's campaign in that meddling, according to the Justice Department.
Whitaker, who has publicly criticized the Mueller investigation, by law can serve as acting AG for a maximum of 210 days.
Whitaker will have the power to fire Mueller "for cause" as outlined under rules governing the special counsel's office, if such cause is found.