Trump fires Obama’s acting attorney general
“She betrayed the DOJ.”
The White House announced the unusual move in a scathing statement, calling Yates “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.” Yates had been appointed deputy attorney general by former President Obama last January.
“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,” the statement read.
Yates had directed the Justice Department earlier Monday not to defend the executive order, which halted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspended the United States’ admittance of refugees for 120 days.
“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,” she had written in a memo to Justice Department lawyers.
“Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons,” read the White House statement.
Boente, 29-year veteran of the Justice Department, was also appointed by Obama. A spokesperson for the administration told reporters Monday evening that Boente had been sworn in as acting attorney general at 9 p.m., just 15 minutes before the White House announced his appointment.
“I am honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed. I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected,” Boente said.
Shortly after midnight, Boente issued a statement saying he has rejected Yates’ decision, and will implement Trump’s order.