Acting Attorney General fired after telling DOJ not to defend Trump immigration order

Sally Yates in a photo from the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

WASHINGTON (WNCN) – Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, was removed by the White House Monday night after she directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees.

Dana Boente (WAVY-TV Photo)
Dana Boente (WAVY-TV Photo)

Yates said in a memo Monday that she is not convinced that Trump’s order is lawful, or that its defense is consistent with the department’s obligation to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

Yates was appointed deputy attorney general by President Barack Obama. She became acting attorney general once Loretta Lynch left the position.

Around 9:15 p.m. the White House announced that Yates was removed.

“Mrs. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” a statement from the White House said.

Trump has named U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente as the acting attorney general.  Boente was sworn in as the new acting Attorney General at 9 p.m. Monday, CBS News reported.

Yates’ directive would have been in place until she left the department, which would have happened once the Senate confirms Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general.

Below is the memo from the White House about Yates and Yates’ earlier memo about the issue (from CBS News)

— The Associated Press contributed to this report


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