Trump Fires Attorney General Sally Yates for Refusal to Support Muslim Ban

07 February, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Lorena Waters
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"The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order created to protect the citizens of the United States".

In a blistering statement announcing Yates' replacement, the White House cited her memo earlier in the day ordering Justice Department lawyers not to go to court to defend sharp restrictions Trump ordered last week on immigration from seven majority Muslim countries.

Trump replaced Yates with Dana Boente, the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, until Sen. Boente said in a statement that he is "honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed". This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.

At least three top national security officials - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department - have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it. In 2015, she instructed Justice Department lawyers to prioritize the prosecution of business executives who committed corporate crimes.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday praised Yates' stance as part of that tradition, saying the department's "first duty is always to the American people".

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In 2015, during her hearing to become deputy attorney general, Yates explained that her job would be to offer independent legal advice.

Following a vote by the committee the nomination goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Regardless of vehement protests across the nation and throughout the government, Trump is hell-bent not only on maintaining his travel ban, but also-crucially-on being obeyed.

"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", Yates wrote. And importantly, it does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just. The Pentagon was trying to exempt Iraqis who worked alongside the US and coalition forces from the 90-day ban on entry from the predominantly Muslim countries.

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