WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump fired the federal government’s top lawyer Sally Yates on Monday after the latter defied the White House while refusing to defend new travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim countries.
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Yates who was serving as acting Attorney General on Monday stated that the Justice Department would not defend in court Trump’s executive order that put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into US, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The blunt Yates maintained she did not believe defending the order would be ‘consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right’.
But to her dismay, she was fired the same day for terming the travel ban ‘unlawful’.
The White House, while terming the resistance of Yates political, said she “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.
Yates was appointed during President Barack Obama’s stint and was days away from being replaced by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is awaiting Senate’s nod.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement while justifying the sacking.
The White House said that Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, would be acting U.S. attorney general until Sessions is approved.
Boente said in an interview that he would enforce the immigration order by Trump.
Its a rare incident that a justice department official has resorted to resistance against the White House.
In 1973 Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy resigned than to obey President Richard Nixon’s order to sack a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.
It all began as US president Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday putting a ban on entry of Muslims from seven countries and suspending the entire US refugee resettlement program.
Civil liberties groups and activists slammed Trump arguing that it was inhumane not to distinguish between victims of war-torn regions and extremists.