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Oval Office

11:01 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody, for being here today. It is with great pride, very great pride, that I say these words to you right now: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Applause.) Welcome to the White House. (Applause.)

I want to congratulate you, Jeff, your wife Mary, and your entire family. Jeff Sessions has been a federal prosecutor at the highest level and at the most respected level, a state attorney general, and then a U.S. senator for two decades. He has devoted his life to the cause of justice and believes deeply that all people are equals in the eyes of the law — and very importantly for Jeff and for so many of us, also in the eyes of God.

He’s a man of integrity, a man of principle, and a man of total, utter resolve. You just got a little witnessing of that. That resolve is what we need right now. America faces many challenges. We face the menace of rising crime and the threat of deadly terror. And it’s not getting better, but it will get better very soon. It’s going to get a lot better.

These dangerous times require a determined attorney general, which is what Jeff is. Jeff understands that the job of attorney general is to serve and protect the people of the United States, and that is exactly what he will do, and do better than anybody else can. He’s trained better for it than anybody else. The level of respect that he has throughout this country as a former prosecutor, not even to mention being a long-time U.S. senator, is absolutely incredible.

He will be a great protector of the people. I’m signing three executive actions today designed to restore safety in America. These executive actions continue to deliver on my campaign promises.

First, I’m directing Department of Justice and Homeland Security to undertake all necessary and lawful action to break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people, many other people.

Secondly, I’m directing Department of Justice to form a task force on reducing violent crime in America.

And thirdly, I’m directing the Department of Justice to implement a plan to stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers. It’s a shame what’s been happening to our great, truly great law enforcement officers. That’s going to stop as of today.

Today’s ceremony should be seen as a clear message to the gang members and drug dealers terrorizing innocent people. Your day is over. A new era of justice begins, and it begins right now.

I want to again thank and congratulate Mary and our new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. I wish you God’s wisdom and blessings in your journey. Mr. Vice President, would you please conduct the swearing-in. Thank you. Thank you very much for being here, everyone. (Applause.)

(The Attorney General is sworn in.)

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: Mr. President, thank you for this great honor. It’s something I never expected would happen in my life, but I do love the Department of Justice. I care about its traditions and its heritage. I had 15 years in that great department, and the honor to lead it now is something that I do not have words to express effectively.

There are a lot of things we need to do. First, we need to value and support and encourage the fabulous people who work there. I’ve worked with them over the years. I know how good they are, and their talents need to be directed at this nation’s benefit in a lot of different ways. We have a crime problem. I wish the blip — I wish the rise that we are seeing in crime in America today were some sort of aberration or a blip. My best judgement, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years is that this is a dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk. We will deploy the talents and abilities of the Department of Justice in the most effective way possible to confront this rise in crime and to protect the people of our country.

We have an increased threat, since I was a United States attorney, from terrorism. Mr. President, you’ve spoken firmly on that. You’ve led this nation to say we’re going to respond effectively to the threat of terrorism, and you can count on your Department of Justice to do so in an effective way. And you’ve said something that I believe and I think the American people believe — that we need a lawful system of immigration; one that serves the interests of the people of the United States. That’s not wrong, that’s not immoral, that’s not indecent. We admit a million people a year plus, lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down wages of working Americans.

It is an honor beyond words to serve under you and your leadership. You’re putting together a great Cabinet, which is just a thrill for me to have the opportunity to join. And I look forward to making sure that every ounce of strength I have and that the people of the Department of Justice have is going to be focused on preserving and protecting the Constitution and the safety of this country. We will defend the laws of this country as passed by Congress. We will defend the lawful orders of the President of the United States with vigor and determination.

Thank you all for being here, I see a lot of good friends, and may God bless all our efforts. Thank you. (Applause.)

11:07 A.M. EST