Home News Trump Fires Attorney General Sally Yates For Doing Her Job

Trump Fires Attorney General Sally Yates For Doing Her Job

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Sally Yates, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. March 24, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

So Trump fired acting attorney general Sally Yates for defying him on the immigration ban. Right, so Yates served as deputy attorney general under Obama, and Trump is waiting for congress to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions for the role. (Trump replaced Yates with Dana J. Boente, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who of course immediately rescinded Yates’s order).

But the way in which this was handled is the real concerning story. Check out this passage from the Washington Post’s article Donald Trump firing Sally Yates isn’t the big story. How he did it is which picks apart the White House’s statement.


How about “betrayed” as the word choice for Yates’s refusal to enforce the travel ban? There’s no question that Trump was well within his rights to jettison Yates. But, to describe what she did as a “betrayal,” considering that she spent nearly three decades serving in the Justice Department, feels like unnecessarily incendiary language.

But the Trump White House was just getting started. The statement goes on to note that Yates is “weak on borders” and “very weak on illegal immigration.” There’s no evidence cited for that slam on Yates.


There’s lots more in the article, and Politico also has a good piece to read: Why Trump’s Firing of Sally Yates Should Worry You. Yates was doing her job, whether Trump agreed or not, and the dismissal’s handling was definitely cause for concern.

The irony of all this is watching Senator Sessions himself pressing Yates to agree that the DOJ has a responsibility to resist the White House actions that are unlawful in her 2015 confirmation hearing.

“Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something improper?” Sessions asked. “[I]f the views a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General say no?”

I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to the law and the Constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” Yates said.

Praise for Sally’s courage and devotion to what’s right echoed across Twitter, and she was just nominated for a JFK Profile in Courage Award.

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