Sally Yates, a Barack Obama appointee, had written an extraordinary letter by historical standards, telling Justice Department lawyers not to defend the Trump executive order, which has spurred protests at airports throughout the country, Heavy reported.
“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 White House said in a statement on Monday.
“President Trump relieved Ms Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate.”
In a letter she wrote to the department earlier in the day, Yates asserted that she is “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.”
Trump initially responded to the letter by an expected tweet, in which he branded Yates an “Obama AG.”
He further complained that “the Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons… They have nothing going but to obstruct.”
Trump issued an executive order late Friday to impose a 90-day entry ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, block refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days.
Following the order, several lawsuits were being introduced against the ban.
Yates’s order was about to deny the government courtroom representation in the lawsuits.