Whitaker will now oversee the investigation of interference from Russian Federation in the 2016 presidential elections as well as possible collusion with the campaign of President Trump, a controversial probe headed by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
In a letter released Thursday, Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined 17 others urging Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
Democrats have slammed Whitaker's appointment to replace Sessions, arguing that Trump is trying to undermine Mueller and demanding that Whitaker recuse himself from supervising the Mueller investigation due to his writings and public comments attacking the investigation.
Trump said it was up to Whitaker whether he would be involved in the investigation.
Some protesters said they fear Trump is close to causing a constitutional crisis.
The departure was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into Sessions' tenure, when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation because of his campaign advocacy and following the revelation that he had met twice in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
"He worships him", a longtime friend said of Whitaker and Trump. McConnell said that's not needed because the probe will be allowed to finish.
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Reacting to the incident, CNN lambasted the ban as retaliation and accused Sanders of lying. We stand by our statement ", Sanders said .
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In all likelihood, Whitaker will remain acting Attorney General until a new person can be confirmed to the post by the Senate, which likely won't come until February at the earliest.
"I think we can all agree that (Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein was a firewall for the (Robert) Mueller investigation". Before joining the Justice Department, Whitaker was openly critical of the Mueller investigation.
The court's order directed each party in the case to file briefs by Nov. 19 outlining, "what, if any effect, the November 7, 2018 designation of an Acting Attorney General different from the official who appointed Special Counsel Mueller has on this case".
"As you can imagine, we speak frequently, and there's never been any indication that he wants to dismiss Mueller or the investigation".
Trump on Friday lambasted Flake via Twitter over these efforts.
"The firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be one step short of the break glass moment", the organizers wrote before that became a reality on Wednesday. "I'm saying there's a middle ground where he tells us the story, locks it into the court system by indicting others, then files a report with Whitaker".
Whitaker was virtually unknown to Sessions before becoming his chief of staff.