UPDATE: Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser with the Trump White House, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that Ms. Yates was removed because she wasn't upholding the president's executive order, which means she wasn't defending the country or the Constitution. Her replacement will be someone who will enforce the law. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente was sworn in as the new acting attorney general at 9 P.M. He was Senate confirmed, meaning that he can exercise the full power of the office, according to CNN's Evan Perez
Stephen Miller: “It was a betrayal of her office and [Sally Yates] is being replaced with somebody who will enforce the laws of the U.S.” pic.twitter.com/C1aNrfsLuV— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 31, 2017
President Donald J. Trump has fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates hours after she penned a letter announcing that the Department of Justice would not defend his executive order on immigration. Yates had stated that she wasn't convinced of the order's legality.
“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,” she wrote in a letter. “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.” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente replaced Yates (via Politico):
President Donald Trump fired the nation's acting attorney general Monday night after she refused to defend an executive order he issued last week restricting immigration in the name of national security.
In an act of high political drama just ten days after taking office, Trump replaced Obama administration appointee Sally Yates with the U.S. Attorney in Alexandria, Va., Dana Boente.
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. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel," a White House statement said. "Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration."
She wrote "I am not convinced" that EO is lawful. She did not conclude it was unlawful, nor did she write about its constitutionality.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) January 31, 2017
It was an entirely improper standard to apply. "I don't know, so we won't defend it" has never been DOJ's standard for declining to defend.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) January 31, 2017
Fired Sally Yates letter devoid of legal argument. Reeks of moral preening, grandstanding. pic.twitter.com/J7RdnRrzxs— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 31, 2017
Yates, the now ex-acting attorney general, was a holdover from the Obama administration, as Trump’s nominee to be our top legal enforcer, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), remains in limbo. Despite the delay, Sessions is expected to be confirmed.
Web Editor Justin Holcomb contributed to this post.