President Donald Trump relieved acting Attorney General Sally Yates of her duties Monday night after she directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trump’s controversial executive refugee and immigration ban.
Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, was replaced by Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente, 62, was sworn in Monday evening. He will lead the Justice Department pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, by the Senate.
A White House statement said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” The executive order, which Trump signed Friday, temporarily halted the entire U.S. refugee program and banned all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.
Yates said in a memo earlier Monday that she was “not convinced” that Trump’s order was lawful, nor that its defense was consistent with what she described as the department’s obligation to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
“It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme,” the unsigned White House statement said. “It is