Sessions resigns as attorney general

Jeff Sessions - U.S. Attorney General, Photo Date: 10/27/17 / Photo: FBI / (MGN)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned as the country's chief law enforcement officer.

Sessions announced his plan to resign in a letter to the White House on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that Sessions' chief of staff Matt Whitaker would become the new acting attorney general.

The attorney general had endured more than a year of stinging and personal criticism from Trump over his recusal from the investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump blamed the decision for opening the door to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the Russia investigation and began examining whether Trump's hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct justice.

Sen. John Thune tweeted the following in regards to Sesson's departure:

"Jeff Sessions is a true public servant, and I want to thank him for his decades of work on behalf of the American people. I look forward to seeing who @POTUS nominates and will work with my Senate colleagues to confirm a new AG who, like Jeff, is dedicated to the rule of law."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)