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Rosenstein applauds Trump's Justice Department nominations

The deputy attorney general spoke in midtown Manhattan at a bar association seminar.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the New York City Bar Association's annual White Collar Crime Institute on Wednesday in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein praised President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his Justice Department nominations and pushed for faster Senate confirmation of the nominees.

Trump has nominated heads for the department’s environmental, civil rights and civil divisions, but they have yet to be confirmed.

“President Trump deserves great credit for nominating champions of the rule of law,” said Rosenstein, while speaking in midtown Manhattan to a bar association seminar about white-collar crime.

Trump’s nominee to head the criminal division is Brian Benczkowski, a former congressional aide to Jeff Sessions, who is now U.S. attorney general.

Democrats have criticized the pick, saying Benczkowski has little criminal law experience and his appointment could undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Benczkowski has said he previously worked on behalf of a Russian bank with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Last May, Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to probe alleged Russian election interference. Rosenstein did not refer to the Mueller investigation in his remarks Wednesday.

Other nominees awaiting confirmation are Jeffrey Clark, for the department’s environmental division; Eric Dreiband for the civil rights division; and Jody Hunt for the civil division, Rosenstein said Wednesday.

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