(CNN) - Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that the Justice Department's handling of the special counsel's Russia investigation "deserves respect" and that it's time for the country to move on.
"The process was followed and a decision has now been rendered, and I think it deserves respect,'' he said at Amherst College in Massachusetts Wednesday night, according to the Boston Globe. "I think it's about time to accept the results, and let's get on with the business of America."
The event, open to Amherst College students, faculty and staff only, was Sessions' first public appearance since a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report was released publicly last week.
Sessions argued that the 22-month-long special counsel investigation, which concluded in March, was conducted "vigorously and with integrity."
"Special Counsel Bob Mueller is a very experienced prosecutor," Sessions said, according to the college's newspaper, the Amherst Student. "He well knew that his work would be watched, reviewed and criticized. He knew that his integrity was on the line when he accepted the job ... It was a vigorously conducted investigation, you can be sure. Some may say it was excessive; I say it was complete and thorough."
Sessions was fired in November by President Donald Trump, who was frustrated by Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the 2016 campaign, including overseeing the Russia investigation, early in Trump's term.
The two newspapers noted that several students walked out during Sessions' speech at Amherst College.
In a summary of Mueller's report, Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the decision there was not sufficient evidence to establish that the President obstructed justice, even though the special counsel did not exonerate the President on that question.
Barr is set to testify about the Mueller report before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1 and 2.