Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein brushed off President Donald Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an interview published Tuesday, saying the morale at the Justice Department remains “pretty good,” despite the president’s comments, The Hill reports.
“I don’t think that anything that happens in the news media distracts our people from doing their work on a daily basis,” Rosenstein told The Wall Street Journal.
“The attorney general has made clear to me and to our colleagues in the department that we are here to promote the agenda of the administration, we believe in the agenda, and we are doing everything we can to advance that agenda,” he added.
Despite denying that politics plays a role in the department day to day operations, other prosecutors, current and former, reportedly expressed concern that Trump’s attacks on Session are unnerving.
They also said Trump’s attacks make the Justice Department appear like it’s a political agency, which would negatively impact their ability to prosecute cases as well as other community outreach in high-crime areas.
The Journal’s report comes after Trump repeatedly and publicly attacked Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the ongoing Russia investigation, calling him “beleaguered” and “very weak”.
Trump’s blistering chastisement of a top official in his administration fueled speculation that he wanted Sessions to resign, while others said the president is just venting out in the open.Trump’s criticism of Sessions, a longtime supporter, has tapered off the past several days.
Trump has also targeted Rosenstein in tweets, but the top Justice official refused to “comment on any tweets” by the president while speaking to The Journal. He also declined to answer any questions related to special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.