Sally Yates, an Obama-era Department of Justice (DOJ) official who briefly served as acting attorney general in the earliest days of the Trump administration, savaged the president in a new editorial piece accusing him of politicizing DOJ.
Yates, who has steadily criticized President Donald Trump since leaving government service, accuses him of infringing on the independence of federal law enforcement in hopes of protecting himself and punishing his political enemies, according to a weekend article The New York Times published Friday.
“President Trump’s actions appear aimed at destroying the fundamental independence of the Justice Department,” she wrote. “All the while, he’s ripping the blindfold off Lady Justice and attempting to turn the department into a sword to seek vengeance against his perceived enemies and a shield to protect himself and his allies.”
She cites his repeated disparagements of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, his repeated pleas that DOJ investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and his dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey after he allegedly refused to swear loyalty to the administration.
Yates’ tenure at the Justice Department ended abruptly after she refused to defend the president’s first executive order on refugee and migrant entry to the U.S., forcing Trump to fire her. That she forced the president to fire her instead of following time-honored tradition and resigning over an order with which she disagreed prompted allegations of grandstanding among some legal commentators.
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