After refusing to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration in court, Democratic appointee Sally Yates was fired as acting attorney general.
Trump signed an executive order that placed a 90-day immigration ban on citizens of seven nations with large Muslim populations on Jan. 27. The order also suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and put an indefinite ban on the admittance of Syrian refugees into the U.S.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich tweets about Yates’ dismissal on Monday evening
In a letter sent on Monday, Yates directed attorneys at the Justice Department not to defend the executive order, stating that her role differs from the of the Office of Legal Counsel, which approved the order.
“[The Legal Counsel Office] does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an executive order is wise or just,” Yates’ letter said.
Former acting attorney general, Sally Yates
Her show of resistance reflects the national outcry that arose after the order was signed.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the position we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates’ letter said. “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.”
Dana Boente, previously the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, now holds the position of acting attorney general. Trump released a statement on Boente’s appointment on his Facebook page Monday evening.
Acting Attorney General Dana J. Boente
In the statement, Trump said Yates has “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
The statement also defends the legality of the executive order, citing the approval of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
“Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme,” said the statement. “It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”
According to the statement, Boente will hold the position until Trump’s attorney-general nominee, Jeff Sessions, has been confirmed.
— by Molly Hunter