Sessions praises Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE praised Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Tuesday, calling his second-in-command a "great deputy attorney general."

After Rosenstein introduced the attorney general at the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in Bethesda, Md., Sessions thanked him for the warm welcome.

“Warmed the cockles of my heart,” Sessions said. “Wasn’t that [the] Churchill saying, whatever it means? So Rod, thank you for those kind words and for your leadership and your decades-long commitment to fighting crime and seeking justice."

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In prepared remarks, Sessions had only planned to say that  that the Department of Justice is "fortunate indeed" to have someone of Rosenstein's "caliber and experience" serving as deputy attorney general.

But Sessions went off script.

"I'd read what he'd written about crime as United States attorney in Baltimore. I liked what he said and come to know him and you know we have a great deputy attorney general," he said.

Rosenstein took over the investigation into possible Russian election meddling and coordination between President Trump's campaign and Moscow earlier this year after Sessions recused himself from all matters regarding the investigation.

Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Rob Mueller as special counsel to oversee the investigation. Though there were reports that Trump was considering firing Mueller, Rosenstein told senators earlier this month that only he has the authority to make that decision and has found no good cause to do so.