Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a Friday speech in Philadelphia, just days after President Trump indicated he wasn't fully happy with Sessions or Rosenstein.
"He's a really good guy," Sessions said of Rosenstein.
Trump criticized both of them in a New York Times interview this week. Trump said he would have never appointed Sessions if he knew he was going to recuse himself, and also expressed discontent with Rosenstein, a former federal prosecutor from Baltimore.
Trump didn't mention Rachel Brand, the Associate Attorney General, but Sessions did on Friday, noting that she and Rosenstein are "the only two of our 12 to be confirmed and have gotten through the Senate."
"But hopefully we'll get the rest of them to start moving fast and it'll help us," Sessions added.
The nominees to head the Justice Department's criminal, civil, and national security divisions have not yet had Senate confirmation hearings. And none of the 25 nominees for the 93 vacant U.S. attorney positions have been confirmed.
Sessions also called serving as the head of the Justice Department "a great honor," a day after he vowed to remain attorney general "as long as that is appropriate."
"[A] really a surprising opportunity for me at this point in my life to serve as your attorney general. I do my best everyday to be faithful to the laws and the Constitution of this United States and to fulfill the goals that the president and I share," Sessions said as he cited Trump's three executive orders all on crime and public safety.
Sessions also called on law enforcement to continue to work hard, despite what he said is a "tough job" that "seems to be getting tougher."
"The first and most important job of this government [?] is to protect the safety and the rights of its citizens. If we fail at this task, then every other government initiative loses its importance," Sessions said. "As law enforcement officials, we have the responsibility to stop ? and reverse ? the surge in violent crime that has taken place over these last two years. And under President Trump's direction, this Department of Justice will do its part."