- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2017

After a bitter confirmation battle, Jeff Sessions was sworn in Thursday as attorney general at an Oval Office ceremony attended by President Trump.

The president said that Mr. Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and Alabama attorney general who resigned form the U.S. Senate to become the country’s top law enforcement officer, had “devoted his life to the cause of justice and believes deeply that all people are equals in the eyes of the law.”

The swearing-in capped a brutal confirmation in which Senate Democrats and liberal activists accused Mr. Sessions of being a racist, sexist and homophobic.

Mr. Sessions was the first senator to back Mr. Trump’s run for president and actively campaigned for him. Mr. Sessions is expected to be a powerful ally in pursuing Mr. Trump’s law-and-order agenda, including a crackdown on illegal immigration.

“We face the menace of rising crime and the threat of deadly terror. He’s trained better for it than anybody else,” said Mr. Trump. “He will be a great protector of the people.”

Mr. Sessions said he would deploy the Justice Department to combat rising crime and fight terrorism.

He also seconded Mr. Trump’s stance against illegal immigration.

“You said something that I believe and I think the American people believe, that we need a lawful system of immigration,” Mr. Sessions told the president during brief remarks after taking the oath. “One that serves the interests of the people of the United States. That’s not wrong. That’s not immoral. That’s not indecent.”

The new attorney general said that the U.S. admits more than a million lawful immigrants a year but illegal immigration was damaging the country.

“We need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety and pulls down wages of working Americans,” Mr. Sessions said.

After the swearing-in, Mr. Trump signed three executive orders dealing with law enforcement. The orders granted new power to target criminal cartels, created a task force on violent crime and instructed the Justice Department to implement a plan to prevent crime against law enforcement officers, said the president.

Mr. Trump said the actions were “designed to restore safety in America.”

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