Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions joked about joining the growing list of people who President Donald Trump has forced out of his administration on Wednesday in Chicago.
‘I’ve got a new title: former. Pink slip. That’s everybody — a lot of people have gotten pink slips, I guess,’ Sessions, 71, said, in a video of the statements published by The Hill.
‘But mine is a little more public than most. But I really enjoy the honor and appreciate the president allowing me to serve almost two years in one of the greatest jobs in the world.’
Sessions resigned from his leadership role in the Department of Justice on November 7 , which was the day after the midterm elections, after being asked to do so by Trump, with the president tweeting the news of the shakeup.
Sessions was speaking at the Chicago Crime Commission’s Stars of Distinction 2018 Awards Dinner on Wednesday when he made the humorous comments.
‘A lot has changed since my visit here a few months ago, about a month ago, actually,’ Sessions said, before launching into his pink slip joke.
He followed that up with a serious note, say he felt, ‘satisfied and fulfilled with what we were able to accomplish.’
Sessions added that he’s ‘excited for those who will continue to lead the great department.’
During the course of his remarks, Sessions rallied against consent decrees, a tool used by the Department of Justice for force reforms in police districts accused of abusing civil rights, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
In the talk he referenced from October, Sessions said Chicago police ‘are not the problem, Chicago police are the solution.’
One of his final duties as Attorney General before he resigned was singing an order limiting the Justice Department’s ability to use consent decrees in such a way, previously saying it would ‘rob the people of Chicago of their votes,’ and ‘make policing unaccountable to the people.’
Some time after he signed that order, the news of his departure and replacement was announced by Trump on Twitter, on November 7.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions joked about joining the growing list of people who President Donald Trump has forced out of his administration on Wednesday in Chicago
The news of his departure and replacement was announced by President Donald Trump on Twitter, on November 7. Trump is pictured pointing while talking to reporters as he departs on travel to the G20 Summit in Argentina from the White House in Washington, DC on Thursday
The president tweeted: ‘We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well….
‘….We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.’
Even after his ouster, Sessions remains faithful to Trump philosophies on sanctuary cities, which he made clear on Wednesday during his speech in Chicago.
He said he remained ‘steadfast’ that Chicago and other cities that operate with sanctuary city policies were ‘making a monumental mistake.’
Sessions said the policies ‘impede’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from doing their jobs and that ‘frustrates their lawful mission’ and ‘places their lives at greater risk.’
‘I urge the city and all the jurisdictions who are involved in the sanctuary agenda to reevaluate what they’re doing,’ Sessions said. ‘Whatever the crime rate will be in the future, it’ll be higher if you maintain these policies.’
Meanwhile, three Democratic senators have filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Whitaker as acting attorney general.
The president tweeted: ‘We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well….’
Trump tweeted again: ‘….We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date’
The complaint was filed on November 19 by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
It argues that Whitaker’s appointment violates the Constitution because he has not been confirmed by the Senate and seeks to have a judge declare the appointment unconstitutional.
Separately, the Justice Department defended Trump’s naming Whitaker as acting attorney general without Senate confirmation, saying on November 19 that the appointment was legal based on ‘centuries of practice and precedent.’
Three Democratic senators have filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker is pictured speaking about the opioid crisis on Thursday in Nashville
Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said Whitaker’s appointment was consistent with laws governing presidential appointments of top-level officials and ‘comports with… actions of US presidents, both Republican and Democrat.’
Questions have also been raised over whether Trump’s choice of Whitaker violated federal law, because Whitaker has not gone through the confirmation process required for cabinet officials and especially Justice Department chiefs.
Many analysts believe the former prosecutor and television commentator was chosen to protect Trump from the Russia collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who will now be under Whitaker’s control.
Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the Russia probe, handing the responsibility to Deputy Attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
Normally Rosenstein, who has gone through Senate confirmation, would have been made acting attorney general until a new nominee could be vetted.
Some have speculated Sessions, the long-time former Senator from Alabama who held the seat from 1997 to 2017 and only resigned from it to join the Trump administration, may make a run for his old position again in 2020.
Two people familiar with his thinking said a Senate run was possible, Politico reported.
Many analysts believe Whitaker was chosen to replace Sessions to protect Trump from the Russia collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who will now be under Whitaker’s control. Trump (left) is pictured speaking during the swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) at the White House in Washington, DC on February 9, 2017