On late Monday night, President Donald Trump emulated his role model, disgraced former Republican President Richard Nixon, and fired a sitting U.S. Attorney General because she would not defend his indefensible Immigration (Muslim) ban. Now-former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates took her place in history as a true American patriot who had the guts to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and against an out-of-control president when she issued a statement refusing to instruct the Justice Department to defend Trump’s executive order which bans refugees from particular Muslim majority countries.
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,” she said in a letter. “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.”
“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,” Yates wrote.
Trump wasted little time in firing Yates as acting Attorney General and appointing Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as her replacement. The White House issued a statement which claimed that Yates was “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
(Yates) has betrayed the Department of Justice,” the White House statement said.
According to an administration official, Trump chose to inform Yates of her termination via hand-delivered letter rather than making a phone call. What a tough guy huh?
CNN reports that Trump’s handpicked replacement has now issued an order telling DOJ lawyers to ignore Yate’s order and “defend the lawful orders of our President.”
However, those attornies may have a very rough couple of days ahead as so far five different federal judges have deemed Trump’s order illegal and issued judgments calling for a temporary restraining order on the immigration (Muslim) bans.
On Tuesday, the Senate is scheduled to hold its vote on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-ALA) whose nomination already faces an uphill battle due to his “questionable” civil rights track record. However, in 2015, Sessions had an opportunity to question Yates when she was being confirmed to be the Deputy U.S. Attorney General.
You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about,” he said to her. “Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the president, if he asks for something that’s improper? A lot of people have defended the [former Attorney General Loretta] Lynch nomination, for example, by saying, ‘Well, [former President Barack Obama] appoints somebody who’s going to execute his views. What’s wrong with that?’ But if the views a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General say no?”
“Senator, I believe that the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” she responded.
Well that's awkward pic.twitter.com/VID88sYOeV
— Staffer News (@staffernews) January 31, 2017
Incidentally, Yates’ nomination was approved by an 84-12 Senate vote. Sen. Sessions was among the 12 who voted against her.
Featured image screen grab via Twitter.