UPDATED 1/30/17 11:18p.m. EST – Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have issued statements on Yates’ firing. We will continue to update this piece as necessary.
UPDATED 1/30/17 12:00a.m. EST – The new acting attorney general, Dana Boente, has instructed Justice Department lawyers to defend Trump’s unconstitutional immigration ban.
This evening, word came in from the White House that President Donald Trump has fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Yates refused to enforce the executive order on immigration and refugees — aka the Muslim ban — signed by Trump this past weekend.
Ben Jacobs, political reporter for the Guardian tweeted the statement, released by the White House:
And Sally Yates has been fired pic.twitter.com/Pbw0MxxNOt
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) January 31, 2017
The statement echoes some of the same language used by Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to the president, in pointing out the affiliation Yates has to the previous administration. This type of language is generally avoided by the White House.
Or, at least it was until this administration.
Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has already been sworn in as acting Attorney General until the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as Trump’s pick for Attorney General goes through.
Boente, though, was apparently not next-in-line for the job.
Also, the next U.S. atty in line of succession was not Boente, but Zach Fardon. Did Trump go forum shopping for one who would follow orders?
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 31, 2017
Chalk this up as yet another unprecedented and dangerous move by a dangerous administration.
@realDonaldTrump acts like Dick Nixon in firing Sally Yates at "Justice(sic)".She's now an Elliot Richardson hero standing against tyranny
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) January 31, 2017
I’d ask what could possibly come next, but I’m legitimately afraid to do so.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued the following statement:
“Tonight, the Acting Attorney General was fired for upholding the Constitution of the United States. What the Trump Administration calls betrayal is an American with the courage to say that the law and the Constitution come first.
“President Trump’s executive order violates the Constitution, dishonors our values, and weakens the security of the United States. National security experts are warning that the President’s ban will make it harder, not easier to defeat terror.
“Earlier tonight, House Republicans blocked Democrats’ emergency bill to rescind this dangerous and unconstitutional executive order. Now, President Trump has fired the Acting Attorney General to get the answer he wants. Republicans will have to decide whether they will be complicit in the President’s reckless, wrathful and unconstitutional agenda.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted:
The AG should pledge fidelity to the law & the Constitution not the WhiteHouse. The fact that this admin doesnt understand that is chilling.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 31, 2017
Featured image via screenshot from CNN video