Acting Attorney General Sally Yates defies Donald Trump’s Muslim ban saying, “for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the DOJ will not present arguments in defense of the executive order.”
The New York Times reports that Yates does not believe the executive order is constitutional. She wrote, “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.”
“The order has now been challenged in a number of jurisdictions,” Yates wrote. The Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) “review is limited to the narrow question of whether, in OLC’s view, is lawful on its face and properly drafted. It’s review does not take account of statements made by an administration or its surrogates in time to the issuance of an Executive order that may bear on the order’s purpose.”
“For as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” Yates wrote.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with the institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates wrote.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) January 30, 2017
Of course, Donald Trump took the low road in his response: “The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.”
The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2017
Here’s Sally Yates entire statement on ordering the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s travel ban:
Acting Attorney General tells Justice Dept. lawyers not to defend Trump's immigration order, concerned it's not legal. Here is her letter. pic.twitter.com/f6EX7XWCTO
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 30, 2017
It’s very ironic that during Sally Yates confirmation hearing Jeff Sessions asked her if she would defy the president if she thought he was telling her to do something against the law. Here’s the exchange:
— Staffer News (@staffernews) January 31, 2017
Yates statement comes hours after President Obama issued a statement via his spokesman Kevin Lewis rejecting Trump’s claims that the Muslim ban is similar to a 2011 ban on Iraqi refugees. Lewis said there was no ban and “no executive order.”
Here’s the reaction on Twitter to Yates’ defiance of Trump’s Muslim ban:
Sally Yates is on the right side of history https://t.co/VETig3Pgk6
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) January 31, 2017
Sally Yates proves once again most women have bigger balls than congressMEN!
— paige (@daretothink53) January 31, 2017
Sally Yates is a career prosecutor who has served administrations of both parties. Not the type of person who can be bullied by Donald Trump
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 30, 2017
Sally Yates to Trump: pic.twitter.com/yCMhxpTSWJ
— marianne b (@booksncheese) January 31, 2017
Sally Yates: A new Georgia face to Trump resistance https://t.co/sy75hCb3nc
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) January 31, 2017