Hours after the acting Attorney General said she directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees, Sally Yates was fired.
“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” according to a statement from the White House.
In a memo Monday, Yates, an Obama appointee who is serving until Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is confirmed, said she was not convinced that Trump’s order is lawful, or that its defense is consistent with the department’s obligation to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Yates has been replaced by Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Defiant in the face of an international backlash, President Donald Trump pressed into his second week in office defending his sweeping immigration ban. Protests persisted at major airports, and concern mounted from U.S. diplomats and members of his own party.
Trump denied that his order, which suspends all immigration for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, was to blame for weekend chaos at the nation’s airports, instead pointing to computer glitches, demonstrations and even the “fake tears” of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
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