President Trump on Monday night fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she defied him by refusing to have the Justice Department defend his controversial executive order on immigration. “Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties,” the White House said in a statement.
Trump selected Dana Boente, a U.S. attorney from Virginia, to replace Yates until his attorney general pick, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is confirmed. That vote could this week.“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”
Yates, a veteran of the department who was appointed by former President Obama, sent a letter Monday to officials in the department laying out her orders.
“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” she wrote.
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful.”About an hour after the news of Yates’s decision broke, Trump tweeted that Democrats were obstructing him and referred to an “Obama AG.”Shortly after, the White House sent a statement announcing Boente’s elevation.
The executive order Trump signed on Friday bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and denies entry for 90 days for all individuals from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.
A federal judge in New York on Saturday granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union, filed on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained at John F. Kennedy Airport, to temporarily block the order.