Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech in Philadelphia Friday morning that he does his "best every day" to be faithful to the laws of the U.S. and Constitution and to fulfill the goals that he and President Trump share, which includes defending Americans from "international crime."
He said that his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, is "really a good guy" and is the one who runs the Justice Department. The speech was focused on sanctuary cities.
Sessions' office said that he will "speak with federal, state and local law enforcement about sanctuary cities and efforts to combat violent crime."
His remarks will come after a day after he said he would continue to serve in his role "as long as it's appropriate." President Trump this week said in an interview with The New York Times that he would have never have picked Sessions to lead the Justice Department if he had known that he'd recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Live updates below:
Sessions lists what he calls victims of sanctuary cities
"That includes the young victim of an illegal alien who was released from local custody here in Philadelphia. He had been previously deported and re-entered this country was slated to be removed by ICE officers in 2015, but Philadelphia's policies prevented police from honoring ICE's detainer request for him, either. He was released and in August of last year, he was charged with raping a child," Sessions said.
Lauren Hitt, communications director for the city of Philadelphia, disputes Sessions' account. She said that the man did not commit a crime after he was released from Philadelphia's custody and that the charges predate both the detainer request and his arrest in Philadelphia. She said in no way did Philadelphia's policies allow him to rape a minor.
"I met with one man from California, Juan Pina, whose 14-year old daughter Christy was raped, murdered, and left in a field. Christy Sue was not the first American girl this man is alleged to have raped and murdered; neither was she the second," he added.
MS-13 gang is a threat in Pennsylvania, Sessions says
The attorney general said it's a threat in Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.
"In recent months, four MS-13 gang members have been arrested in Pennsylvania in connection with the brutal murders of 21-year old Christian Rivas and of 15-year old Damaris Reyes Rivas," he said. " And we will eradicate this threat. It will not be easy, but I have complete faith in our prosecutors and our law enforcement at every level. MS-13's days are numbered."
Sessions said that he has directed federal prosecutors to work closely with law enforcement
"To that end, I have directed our federal prosecutors to work closely with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels to take violent criminals off our streets," he said. "We are going to dismantle the transnational cartels, drug traffickers and gangs that bring violence and death to communities like Philadelphia."
Sessions that the DOJ is focused especially on "eradicating the threat posed by MS-13."
Sessions said he does his "best every day to be faithful"
The attorney general said he does his "best every day" to be faithful to the laws of the U.S. and Constitution and to fulfill the goals that he and President Trump share, which includes defending Americans from "international crime."
Sessions says Rod Rosenstein is a "really a good guy"
The attorney general said that he had just been discussing his how deputy, Rod Rosenstein, at DOJ has ties to Philadelphia. Sessions said he "sort of runs the Department of Justice."
"He's really a good guy," Sessions said.