President Donald Trump dismissed acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night, after she ordered government lawyers not to defend his executive order on refugees.
In a brazen act of defiance that cost her the post, Yates said she could not enforce a policy that is not “wise or just.” Yates is an Obama-appointee who was serving as acting AG pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s office said in a statement. “This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.”
“It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country,” the statement added.
The president has designated Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting AG in the interim.
“I am honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed,” Boente said in the statement. “I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected.”
The Federal Vacancies Act authorizes the president to replace one Senate-confirmed officer with another, as professor Josh Blackman of South Texas College of Law explains on his blog. Boente was confirmed as U.S. attorney by the Senate in 2015.
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