With new Justice official, fate of Russia probe in question

Jeff Sessions returns to his home in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Sessions was pushed out Wednesday as Attorney General after enduring more th

Jeff Sessions returns to his home in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Sessions was pushed out Wednesday as Attorney General after enduring more th

FILE - In this  July 20, 2017 file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news confe

FILE - In this July 20, 2017 file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news confe

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein waits for his car as he departs the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Attorn

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein waits for his car as he departs the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Attorn

FILE - In this  Feb. 9, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by his wife Mary, after

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by his wife Mary, after

FILE - In this July 13, 2018 photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

FILE - In this July 13, 2018 photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP

FILE - In this April 24, 2014, file photo, then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live tele

FILE - In this April 24, 2014, file photo, then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live tele

A copy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' resignation letter is photographed in Washington on an image of the exterior of the Justice Department Wedne

A copy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' resignation letter is photographed in Washington on an image of the exterior of the Justice Department Wedne

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jeff Sessions' departure as attorney general is raising questions about the fate of the special counsel's Russia probe.

President Donald Trump asked for Sessions' resignation and then replaced the former Alabama senator with Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker.

Whitaker is a former U.S. attorney from Iowa who founded a law firm with other Republican Party activists. He has questioned the Russia probe's scope and spoken publicly before joining the Justice Department about ways an attorney general could theoretically stymie the investigation.

Congressional Democrats have already called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation. So far that has been the job of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller.

The ongoing investigation has produced guilty pleas from four former Trump aides.