Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sessions Out as Attorney General

Jeff Sessions has left the Justice Department for his last time as attorney general.

Sessions walked out Wednesday evening to applause from more than 150 employees who gathered in a courtyard at the Justice Department.

As he left, Sessions appeared emotional and said, "Thank you" and "God bless," before hopping into a waiting SUV.

He also shook hands with his chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday after Sessions resigned at the president's request.

Whitaker told Sessions: "It's been an honor, sir."

Trump's relationship with Sessions frayed just weeks into his tenure, when he stepped aside from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between the president's Republican campaign and Russia.

The new acting attorney general says he's honored that President Donald Trump has confidence in his ability to lead the Justice Department.

Matthew Whitaker said in a statement Wednesday that he is committed to "leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards, that upholds the rule of law, and seeks justice for all Americans."

Whitaker says Jeff Sessions, who was forced out Wednesday, has been a "dedicated public servant for over 40 years." He calls Sessions a man of integrity "who has served this nation well."

Whitaker became acting attorney general after Sessions resigned from the Justice Department. Sessions said in his resignation letter that the move was made at Trump's request.