Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement following the Termination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Nov 8, 2018
Press Release

PRESS STATEMENT HEADER

For Immediate Release                                                                  Contact: Robin Chand

November 7, 2018                                                                                                  (202) 225–3816

Press Statement

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement following the Termination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

 

Jackson Lee—“The President’s actions today in firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointing General Sessions’s Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, poses a potential constitutional question of the eligibility of Mr. Whitaker, and potentially moves the nation towards a series of constitutional crises.  This Congress, as it returns to Washington, must immediately seek to protect the Mueller investigation and pursue the eligibility of Mr. Whitaker to be the interim Attorney General.  Secondarily, we must ensure the appropriate person next in line to lead the Department of Justice is the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget, and the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, following the President’s termination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General:   

“Today, the President announced the ‘resignation’ of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and named as an interim replacement Matthew Whitaker, General Sessions’s Chief of Staff.   To be sure, this is no ordinary personnel announcement.  To be clear, the Attorney General was fired by the President of the United States after many, many months of threatening to do so, and did so in order to impede the Special Counsel’s investigation.  General Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election, whether associates of the Trump campaign aided or abetted that endeavor, and whether the now-President engaged in any criminal activity in attempting to end the investigation.  The public does not know much about Mr. Whitaker, except that he is on record arguing for a limited scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation, and is opposed to the Special Counsel’s investigation.  It is clear that Mr. Whitaker is not the right person for this critically important position. 

“The American people deserve answers as to the circumstances surrounding the termination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Why did this occur and why did it occur now?  Who is supervising the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 election?   The American people demand and deserve answers.  Additionally, when Congress returns to Washington, it must pass H.R. 5476, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which protects the Special Counsel by authorizing a terminated Special Counsel to challenge the action in federal court, during which time any investigation would be stayed. 

The President’s actions today in firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointing General Sessions’s Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, poses a potential constitutional question of the eligibility of Mr. Whitaker, and potentially moves the nation towards a series of constitutional crises.  This Congress, as it returns to Washington, must immediately seek to protect the Mueller investigation and pursue the eligibility of Mr. Whitaker to be the interim Attorney General.  Secondarily, we must ensure the appropriate person next in line to lead the Department of Justice is the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

“Finally, whomever the President selects to permanently fill the position of Attorney General must stand ready to oversee the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to subvert our democratic processes.  The House and Senate must act now.  I would urge the Senate to conduct a searching inquiry into the fitness of any nominee to ensure that any nominee for Attorney General is fit for the position, maintains fidelity to the rule of law, and protects the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

###

Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security and the Budget. She is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.