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Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands during a 2017 news conference to discuss "efforts to reduce violent crime" at the De...

Sessions defends deputy amid Trump criticism

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending is deputy in the face of criticism from the president.

Sessions broke from prepared remarks in a speech Friday on human trafficking. He praised Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well as the department’s No. 3 official, Rachel Brand.

Sessions says both are experienced lawyers and “represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department.”

That’s a departure from President Donald Trump, who was asked Friday whether he has confidence in Rosenstein. Trump said, “You figure that one out.”

READ NEXT: Justice Department defends Russia probe from GOP claims of FBI political bias

The criticism stems from a newly declassified GOP memo alleging the FBI abused surveillance powers in its investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump said, “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”