Trump fired acting Attorney General for refusing to defend his immigration order
U.S. President Donald Trump fired top federal government lawyer Sally Yates on Monday after she took the extraordinarily rare step of defying the White House and refused to defend new travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.
The White House said Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the White House’s statement ran.
Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has been sworn in and will be acting U.S. attorney general temporarily. He has already said in an interview with the Washington Post that he will enforce the immigration order.
Sally Yates said late on Monday that the Justice Department would not defend the order against court challenges, saying that she did not believe it would be “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
The order, signed by Donald Trump on January 27, put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the U.S., an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The ban prompted thousands-strong street protests and chaos at airports as customs officials have struggled to put the order into practice. Lawsuits have been filed to challenge it.
In Barack Obama’s time as president of the United States, Sally Yates was deputy to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The latter left the post after the end of Obama’s presidency, and Trump asked that Yates act Attorney General until his own pick for the post, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, was confirmed by the Senate.