Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Sally Q. Yates
By Tiffani Jones


President Donald Trump fired acting attorney General Sally Yates after her refusal to defend Trump’s executive immigration and travel ban on refugees from 7 Muslim-majority countries. Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, ordered the Department of Justice not to defend Trump’s immigration order.

In a statement via a letter to Justice Department lawyers Yates wrote,

“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. 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. Consequently, 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.”

Sally Yates’s statement came as massive crowds began to build around the country and thousands of people hit the streets and airports to decry what Trump called an “extreme vetting” process, which caused number of people, including families, to be held for hours at airports across the country, with some being threatened with immediate deportation even after the federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued a stay on deportations, prompting hundreds of immigration and civil rights lawyers to convene at airports to volunteer their time to help those being detained.

Following up a 10-day maelstrom of seemingly hasty, controversial and unconstitutional decisions as President, Donald Trump continued full steam ahead with the immediate termination of Sally Yates, accusing her of “betraying” his administration, and appointing Dana J. Boente, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general until Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation.

Many have expressed confusion over the seven countries placed on Trump’s executive order, arguing that none of them pose any high-risk terrorist threats, while those countries that posed an even greater risk were left off the order; and that his temporary ban is unlikely to reduce future threats.

According to a report by CNN, Yates–a lawyer who worked as a federal prosecutor and then a U.S. Deputy Attorney General before becoming Acting AG, and who has served on the Department of Justice for 27 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations–was alerted of her firing via a hand-delivered letter.

Tiffani Jones is the creator and writer of Coffee Rhetoric, a blog about women, pop-culture, film and race. A frequent contributor to both print and digital media platforms, she is also the Digital Content Editor for Northend Agent’s. Tiffani has offered commentary on HuffPost Live, in the NY Times, and on WNPR in another life. More info about her work can be found on Follow her on Twitter: @Coffey0072