U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped aside from overseeing the federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election on Thursday amid questions about his contacts with Moscow’s ambassador during the election.

It is now being asked, “what can the Justice Department do to ensure an independent investigation?”

To replace Sessions, Dana Boente now takes the role of acting Attorney General over “election-related investigations.” It is now Boente’s job to oversee any investigations related to the presidential campaigns by the FBI or Justice Department attorneys.

Boente — whom Obama promoted to U.S. attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2015 — would give up that authority when and if a permanent deputy is confirmed. The White House has nominated the U.S. attorney in Baltimore, Rod Rosenstein, a Republican veteran of George W. Bush’s administration, to the position. His confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Justice Department could appoint an independent special counsel to oversee any inquiries — something Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and many other Democrats urged Boente to do. Schumer went even further, calling on Sessions to resign.

Special counsels are appointed only in the most sensitive cases. There hasn’t even been one since Pat Fitzgerald wrapped up his investigation of who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame during George W. Bush’s presidency.

The U.S. Code sets out specific criteria to justify appointing a special counsel. First the attorney general or his or her proxy must determine that a criminal investigation is warranted.

Second, the attorney general, or his or her proxy, must determine that it would be a conflict of interest for the department or a U.S. attorney’s office to conduct the investigation. Both determinations will now be up to Boente or Resenstein.

[RELATED: ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS RECUSES HIMSELF FROM TRUMP INVESTIGATION]

Democrats have continued to demand Sessions’s resignation. “Recusal is not good enough,” said Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions must resign now, and a special prosecutor must be appointed immediately.”

Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, called on Sessions to resign and called for a bipartisan Congressional investigation.

House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi also called for his resignation.

Senior Republicans called for him to remove himself to avoid a conflict of interest. Radio host, John Cardillo encouraged Sessions not to give in to leftist demands.

Various commentators have brought up the incident where Sessions spoke on Bill Clinton and his possible perjury, saying, ‘No one is above the law.’

Shepard Ambellas from Intellihub.com added:

“The powers-that-be want to make it as hard on the president as possible and are currently running a major offensive on Trump and his key advisers. They have too much invested into the Obama-Clinton legacy, to give it all up to a real movement.”

Trump stands by Sessions but did say that he “…could have stated his response more accurately.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there was no reason for Mr Sessions to recuse himself, let alone resign. “People playing politics with the issue should be ashamed of themselves,” he told Fox News.

There is no reason why the Democratic Party will not move onto a new target when they are finished with Sessions. Cardillo warns:

“Every GOP Rep and Senator, heed the #Sessions warning. Your RINO colleagues are your enemies. They’ll sell you out to Dems in a heartbeat.”

Beyond that, the course of any investigation into the alleged interference by Russia is unclear, and several important questions can’t yet be answered. Boente hasn’t spoken publicly about the matter, and it’s unlikely that he will.

Until and unless he or Rosenstein do, the bottom line is that — as Sessions himself said Thursday night in an interview on Fox News — the process “will just have to play out.”