Acting Attorney General Fired by President


Kaitlin Lee, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump’s executive order, the travel ban, has caused controversy everywhere in the U.S. The order has led to protests, four federal judges ruling against it, and the former Attorney General (AG) being fired because of her opposition. President Trump’s travel ban, signed on Jan. 27, bars citizens of seven major Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, restricts the entry of refugees for 120 days and forever suspends the Syrian refugee program.

Former AG Sally Yates was reported telling Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending President Trump’s executive order. AG Yates wrote, “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I not convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

The move led to a clash between the White House and Yates. Eventually, President Trump fired Yates through a hand-delivered letter. The White House stated the reasoning behind it was because Yates was “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.

White House policy director Stephen Miller, who helped create the executive order criticized Yates. He stated on Jan. 30, “It’s sad that our politics have become so     politicized, that you have people refusing to enforce our laws”.

However, Yates has not only received criticism but also praise from both political parties. Representative Pete Sessions, a top Republican, described Yates’ decision as similar “to an evaluation we made”. When he described the executive order, Sessions said, “It did not look as complete and succinct as what I think I would’ve wanted.”

A top Democrat Representative Elijah Cummings praised Yates for standing up “on principle”. He stated, “In all my years as a member of Congress…I’ve met so many very principled people who truly believe in the Constitution and doing what is right…And Yates is such a person.” And in a written statement Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch lauded Yates, calling her “courageous”.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN the Justice Department decision reflects poorly on the Trump Administration. “This has to be thoroughly vetted … and it’s a very bad omen for this presidency,” he explained.

Currently, there are five states (California, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Washington) that have cases filed against President Trump’s order. Activists who have led the fight acclaimed Yates’ actions. Lee Gelernt, the American Civil Liberties Lawyer who argued against the immigration ban in New York, praised Yates’ decision and called on the next attorney general “to continue that policy”. But for now, the fight between the Executive Branch and the people over American ideals continues.

Photo courtesy of CNN.COM