US President Donald Trump sacked US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday after berating him publicly for several months for his decision to recuse himself from oversight of an inquiry to probe Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
An acting attorney general and Republican loyalist Matthew G Whitaker was appointed as Sessions's temporary replacement.
The development comes amidst the crucial Midterm polls where the opposition Democrats captured the House of Representatives while President Donald Trump's Republican Party retained its majority in the Senate, an outcome likely to intensify the political bitterness and fighting between the two major parties in the run up to the 2020 presidential poll.
Breaking the Republican monopoly on power, Democrats had already picked up over two dozen seats in the House - more than the 23 needed to take control of the House for the first time in eight years.
A top backer of Trump campaign, Sessions had decided to recuse himself from the Russian meddling probe after it was revealed that during the 2016 presidential election, he had not disclosed the "contacts" with the US ambassador to Russia.
The decision was slammed by Trump, calling it as an "ultimate betrayal". The US President has earlier said that he wanted an attorney general to shield him "legally and politically."
Observers opine that Trump's move to sack Sessions will have potential implication on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe as Whitaker has been overtly critical of the Mueller's team to investigate beyond allegations Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in 2016 and other ties between the President, his family and aides, and Kremlin-- an investigation the White House calls "witch hunt".
For the past several months, Trump has been expressing his displeasure at Sessions's functioning in public meetings and social media platform.
In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said, "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 (sic)."
"We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date," he tweeted.
Trump's tweet came less than an hour after his marathon press conference at the White House where he told reporters that he will making announcements about changes in his Cabinet and senior White House and Administrative positions in a week.
In a one-page resignation to Trump, Sessions made it clear that the resignation came "at your request".
"Since the day I was honoured to be sworn in as attorney general of the United States, I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country," Sessions wrote.