Attorney General Sally Yates was relieved from her position after her refusal to support President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
In a statement released by the White House, President Trump said, “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 continues, “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
In response, Ms. Yates wrote a letter to Justice Department lawyers stating, “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.”
President Trump appointed U.S. Attorney Dana Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia to acting attorney general in the interim between Ms. Yates dismissal and Senator Jeff Sessions confirmation as the new attorney general by the Senate.
The White House released a statement commenting that Senator Sessions is “being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.”
Boente stated that he is, “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.”
While some Democrats supported President Trump in his decision, others stood with Ms. Yates and her refusal to support the ban. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York released a statement that said the “attorney general should be loyal and pledge fidelity to the law, not the White House. The fact that this administration doesn’t understand that is chilling.”
In response to the controversy, President Trump sent out a Tweet from his personal account reiterating the White House statement, saying, “The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct.”
Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed as the new attorney general by the Senate on February 8.