In defending her decision to defy President Trump and refuse to defend his executive order prohibiting travel from terrorist nations in court, former acting Attorney General, Democrat Sally Yates offered up an excuse that is worthy of a Seattle or Baltimore activist judge.
In questioning by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) she stated admitted that she had simply overruled the President. She stated, “It is correct that often times, but not always, the civil division of the Department of Justice will defend an action of the President or an action of Congress if there is a reasonable argument to be made. But in this instance, all arguments have to be based on truth, because we’re the Department of Justice, we’re not just a law firm, we’re the Department of Justice.”
Cornyn interrupts and asks, “Can you distinguish the truth from lawful?” Yates replied, “Yes, because in this instance, in looking at what the intent was of the executive order, which was derived, in part, from an analysis of facts outside the face of the order, that that is part of what led to our conclusion that it was not lawful, yes.”
That mechanism of determining intent seems to be a favorite mechanism for massaging the facts and reality into one that will deliver the desired outcome. In this instance it was to violate the direct orders of the President whom she philosophically disagreed with just as with the Director it was a means to refuse to prosecute Hillary Clinton or Huma Abedin. The espionage laws were clear just as this executive order was, they used the smokescreen of the ambiguous “intent” to craft a means of circumvention.
Cornyn expressed his disapproval of Yates’ action, though nothing will be done about it beyond her firing, saying, “I find it enormously disappointing that you somehow vetoed the decision of the office of legal counsel with regard to the lawfulness of the President’s order and decided instead that you would countermand the executive order of the President of the United States because you happen to disagree with it as a policy matter.
She goes on to state that she made her own determination that the executive order was unlawful, projecting herself as some kind of defender of the integrity of the DOJ. Cornyn apparently misunderstood Yates as she was speaking and countered, saying, “I don’t know how you can say that it was lawful and say that it was within your prerogative to refuse to defend it in a court of law and leave it for the court to decide.”
She corrects him and emphatically states, “Senator, I did not say it was lawful. I said it was unlawful.” She was the one woman DOJ who ignored the Constitution and the opinions and determinations of her peers and other professionals so that she could be free to place her own subjective determination above theirs, based partially upon campaign anecdotes. It’s good that President Trump got her out of there as quickly as he did.
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