However, his decision to recuse himself from directing the special investigation into the 2016 election by Robert Mueller earned him the president's ire, and it was something Trump came back to time and again over the past year in interviews and on social media, sometimes belittling Sessions in the process.
He was further outraged when Sessions' deputy, Rod Rosenstein, appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. "He will serve our Country well", Trump tweeted.
Mr. Whitaker once opined about a scenario in which Mr. Trump could fire Mr. Sessions and then appoint an acting attorney general who could stifle the funding of Mr. Mueller's probe.
He also said Mr Sessions' replacement might reduce Mr Mueller's budget "so low that his investigation grinds nearly to a halt".
Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information. The news added yet another layer to previous reports that the president once speculated about why "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" weren't doing more to shield him from Mueller's scrutiny.
But his departure was anticipated since early this year, after he endured withering and repeated criticism from the president over the legally troubled ban on Muslim travellers Trump sought when he came into office, and over the Mueller probe.
He said that reasonable people can agree with Whitaker's perspective on the Mueller investigation, but "I'm sure that's something that got the president's attention".
Dean said despite the ramifications of the Sessions ouster, he has faith in the US judicial system to survive it. Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russian Federation 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing. "I say that given the fact the President was asked the question in the press conference this morning - he brushed it off, said 'we'll deal with it later'".
With Democrats grabbing control of the House of Representatives, Nadler will become the chairman of the Judiciary Committee - and could preside over impeachment proceedings against Trump. Speculation has mounted for months over Rosenstein's fate, but Trump said in September that he wanted Rosenstein to stay in his job.