Enforcing the law at the Department of Justice has, for the last 8 years, been an option based upon politics. It seems that the person acting as Attorney General while the obstructionist Senate Democrats dragged their feet didn’t on Senator Sessions’ nomination didn’t quite realize the extent to which the rules had changed with a real President in the office. That woman, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, certainly has a more clear understanding now.
Yates, an Obama appointee, sent a letter out Monday to DOJ officials laying out the basis for her decision not to defend the order. She stated, “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.” Now she doesn’t have to worry about it.
On Monday night, President Trump fired Yates for defying him and refusing to defend his executive order banning immigration from terrorist nations. The White House issued a statement that Yates had “betrayed” the US government just a few hours after she sent out a memo stating she would not enforce the executive order.
The White House statement said, “Ms. Yates is an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country.”
President Trump selected Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia to act in the interim period until Senator Sessions is confirmed, a vote which should come this week. He’s a 31-year veteran of the Justice Department, appointed by Obama as US Attorney in 2015. He was sworn in at 9pm on Monday.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer laid out the official position on those of questionable loyalties, regarding a similar rebellious group at the State Department. He said, “I think that they should either get with the program or they can go,” in response to a question about State Department employees drafting an internal cable expressing their disapproval of the order.
Boente was asked the same obvious question by the Washington Post, whether he would defend the order. His response was “Yes, I will. Our career department employees were defending the order in court, and that’s what I expect they will do tomorrow, appropriately and properly.”
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