Transcript for Jeff Sessions steps down as the US attorney general
Have much more later on world news tonight in right here at abcnews.com. All afternoon I'm David feel good. David thank you we're gonna continue easy she uses coverage right now here I'm John San Suu Kyi alongside Katherine folders on our Washington bureau we thought we maybe have a quiet afternoon capture every presidential marathon not a press conference but you know the nerve of us for thinking that attorney general Jeff Sessions is announcing that he is resigning. At the request of the president summoned we've been tracking for quite some time. A relationship between these two men deadly fraying over the last two years it began when the attorney general announcing he was recusing himself from supervising the Russian investigation of course that is the probe that the president has called a witch hunt for over the last year and it continues to this day we know that after the election sources have been telling ABC news that there's been a party more action. By Bob Mahler and his team of prosecutors looking at many associates of the president his close friend and former political advisor Roger Stone I do wanna go to EBC's Jonathan Karl our chief White House correspondent John you know we even talking others are quite some time. We know this relationship between these two men. I'm has been fraying. But you know as much as we thought this is gonna come right after the election. I don't mean any of us thought it was gonna come just the very next day. I'm a little surprise that it came just after the that the post election press conference indeed but but we we knew this was coming and this has been. An extraordinary series of developments. The refusal which so angered the president really I think he warned single events since he was sworn in angered him more than anything else. The fact that sessions instead of protecting him from a Russian investigation. Was recusing himself and washing his hands on it. Now you we've seen the present and publicly lambasted. The attorney general he's at one point he said I don't even have an attorney general. But I spoke recently John somebody familiar with sessions thinking. Who said that it throughout all of this. The president never wants it directly took those attacks two sessions himself. And he never. Fired sessions he never asked sessions to resign. And what this person told me is that. Through walk out all of it. Session's view was that he was doing the president's agenda pre if winning the president's agenda at the department of justice and if the president ever wanted him to go. During all this year and half almost two years. Of public attacks that all he had to do is call home often ask him to resign and he wouldn't honored in a minute and that's what's happened here are sort of let's be clear. About one thing this is a resignation. He was fired. He was asked to resign Jeff Sessions was fired. And and Johnny just talk about that go. The way this relationship I guess now on the book and that I mean you know is as well as I'd hear from covering this campaign Jeff Sessions was the first on the US senator let alone very big member of the Republican Party to come out and endorsed candidate Donald Trump during the election. Look look John McCain and you know this as well as anybody I I think that you could make a a compelling case. The Donald Trump is not president if not for Jeff Sessions. He was not simply the first. Could mean a first senator do endorsed Donald Trump. He was. Arguably the single most sought after endorsement in a Republican primary I mean. Ted Cruz practically begged for the endorsement and BB before it happened. Because sessions. Represented that wing of the of the Republican Party that was hard line and immigration. And there were you know its crews was going after that vote hard others wears well particularly Cruz. And Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions took sides and it was a critical boost four. Four trump one other thing I I had very important. Going forward about what happens you've you've talked about I'm Matt would occur will now be the acting. Attorney general it's been noted that he is not recused himself from the Russian investigation. But I do not think it is a given John that Matt Whitaker will be the person overseeing the Russian investigation. Whitaker. Before he became the chief of staff says. Senate number of things. Critical. Of the Mueller investigation including one point he or she wrote an op Ed when he was a contributor to CNN. Saying he entirely agreed with the president. That if Bob Muller started investigating the president's finances that would cross a red line rise so so there will be. Some significant questions raised raised now by the newly empowered. A majority in in the house but also by the same Justice Department ethics lawyers that. They did it told sessions that he really had no choice on refusal. Did that that didn't that would occur wolf there's a lot of pressure to recuse themselves as well. Let's get morphin department justice CBC's a cheap White House correspondent Jonathan Karl thank you sir let's go to our Chief Justice correspondent. Pierre Thomas has Pierre I mean as much is what our heads are spinning over here I'm sure a lot more heads are spinning over the Department of Justice right now. They are but they knew this was coming it's just stark when it actually does take place. The attorney general has been under fire from the president for many many months but I had some indication that. The president would either fire Jeff Sessions or that he would resign relatively soon there after the mid terms you saw senator Lindsey Graham. Couple weeks ago several weeks ago so that indicated. Indicating that the president has the right to have the attorney general that he he wanted and also with the senate. Increasing in the number Republicans. This is clearly gave the president a sense of more latitude to feel like he could get an attorney general at some point. Confirmed. But again the Justice Department we'll we'll deal with this a rod was a sign I still think there is there's a bit of a question here. As to whether. Well this time will relinquish overseeing the mall investigation. However in doing some more reporting on the phone on that in the next couple hours. To get some clarity on that but this is a critical moment. In the Mona investigation we do expect more indictments to come and we do expect to this investigation maybe we reaching its and perhaps by the end of the year. And and pier before we let you go and I know you in nineteen all of us here gonna get back to work before world news a talk a little bit about the person that now is leading the Justice Department that would occur he is a former US attorney I believe in the midwest. And he slides into this role as part of the vacancies act where he can be in this position for about 210 days until the president actually appoints and has a new replacement confirmed. That's right he you know he is. Have been a former US attorneys a person who knows there's the rules and regulations of the Justice Department well. As the sexes chief of staff is a person who would be involved in every aspect. The Justice Department's daily activities so this is a person who well versed in law enforcement laurel. Versed in the tradition of the Justice Department so but as Jonathan mentioned some of the past comments he made. Particularly about the special counsel will be looked at very closely and may impact whatever role he has in that regard. Our Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas nineteen tracking it all here and are gonna have much more world news tonight. We'll be watching it there thank you very much sir we appreciate it coming back over to the bureau with Kaplan folders now you know you you what I've been working and in hand on everything. Involving. The vein at present existence and that is Bob Mueller stroke we know it's going on. Talk about a couple of the areas we know other pending right now the biggest one that we know the -- team has been teaming up over the last couple months is the investigation into Iraq. Yourself it's the investigation into Roger Stone who has a you know put out multiple statements on residents to Graham account not saying. And he's done nothing wrong but obviously they're looking into. And the coronation with WikiLeaks and of course the president's statements as it relates to about so you have Roger Stone is an associate. The president he's been by his side for sometime along with them palm can afford his former campaign chairman. Muller's team has been asking arm. Manna for according to our sources specifically about stone as well also it seems like it's only a matter of time for that Ted and another. Even just to investigations here in Washington Catherine's also. The investigations that have grown out of Bob Mueller as investigations up in the southern district of New York. Right exactly so obviously enormous farmed out a lot of these investigations. And in there's a list of them right you know some Michael Collins for example. And I think we'll be seeing more of those out of that relates to trump and an honestly it you see what's going on with with sessions in and Whitaker who won out over see this investigation in a waits to keep some of those aspects of it safe and. It's going to be a really interesting a couple of days we are going to be tracking at all purity ABC news but you know just before we leave you we do want for that we got back again because Jon Karl said. Even though asking for resignation is a fire in this is what the president said we're pleased to announce. And that would occur is the cheapest at the attorney general Jeff Sessions the Department of Justice will become our new acting attorney Joseph the United States he will serve our country well. Taking over teenagers today after voters were at the polls yesterday. We thought we had seen all today after that ninety minute press conference from president trump but. We learned that you'll get all the latest from. ABC news going to our web site abcnews.com. Or downloading our ABC news apps for Katherine folders on Jan Santee cheat you are watching. ABC news.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.