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Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s resignation letter

There’s one particularly intriguing ambiguous paragraph.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, before his resignation, at an October press conference.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions at an October press conference.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday afternoon at the president’s request. Effectively, that means he was fired, but the administration didn’t quite want to phrase it that way.

As a result of this arrangement, Sessions penned an official resignation letter, which is common for departing Cabinet members. Much of it focuses on what he sees as his accomplishments in office; to my mind, the most interesting part comes in the second-to-last paragraph.

“Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law — a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard,” Sessions writes. “We have operated with integrity and have lawfully and aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.”

This can be read in two ways, which together capture the strange duality of Sessions’s tenure.

On the one hand, Sessions was the most important player in President Trump’s crackdown on immigration — an effort to reduce the number of mostly Hispanic migrants entering the United States, which the president dressed up as protecting the “rule of law.”

On the other hand, Sessions could be referring to his decision to recuse himself from supervising special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia. This effectively limited the president’s ability to interfere with it, and thus really did contribute to preserving the rule of law.

This recusal appears to be the principal reason Trump wanted so badly to push out Sessions.

Read the entire letter below: