Washington, 30 January 2017 – Donald Trump has fired the acting US attorney
general after she told justice department lawyers not to defend his executive order
banning entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The White House said on Monday that Sally Yates had “betrayed” the department
by refusing to enforce a legal order that was “designed to protect the citizens of the
Trump drafted in Dana Boente, US attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, to
replace Yates as acting attorney general. The president’s official appointee, anti-
immigration hardliner Senator Jeff Sessions, is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
As the country’s top law enforcement official, Yates, who was appointed by Barack
Obama, had control over the justice department’s immigration litigation office, which
has handled the federal complaints filed against Trump’s order since his new policy
was announced on Friday.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent
with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is
right,” Yates wrote in a letter to justice department lawyers. “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 action earned praise from immigration activists and Democrats but within three
hours Yates she was gone.
A statement from the White House press secretary’s office said: “Ms Yates is an
Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal
“It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for
individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable
and necessary to protect our country.”
Trump had “relieved Ms Yates of her duties” and Boente would take over until
Sessions’s confirmation by the Senate.
See also 2017 Military Pay Charts