Trump Fires AG Yates For Refusing To Defend Travel Ban
Feb 01, 2017 08:31 AM EST
Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, was fired by President Trump on Monday. It happened only hours after she announced that the department would not pursue his controversial executive order in suspending the entry of refugees and travellers from Muslim-dominated countries.
The White House released a statement pertaining the action, announcing that Yates have "betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order that is designed to protect the citizens of the United States". The statement added that it is time to "get serious about protecting the country", according to CNN.
Yates who was fired after sending a letter to the Justice Department lawyers, questioned the lawfulness of Trump's executive order. She emphasized that her responsibility is to not only ensure that the Department of Justice is legally defensible, but to also inform what the law is after consideration of all the facts.
"At present, I am not truly convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful," she wrote in the letter. "As long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so."
Yates was originally retained from the Obama administration because Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for attorney general, has yet to be confirmed. No other senior Justice Department officials have been appointed either. Therefore, her firing is expected to cause an uproar within the department.
Trump replaced Yates with Dana J. Boente, a three-decade serving veteran of the Justice Department. She was first appointed in 2015 by former President Barack Obama as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.