Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. On January 30, 2017 US President Donald Trump fired the acting attorney general Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, after she ordered Justice Department attorneys not to defend his controversial immigration orders. / AFP
New York – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday night fired acting Attorney-General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his Refugee Order designed to protect the citizens of the country.
The White House, in statement obtained by the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York, announced the appointment of Dana Boente as the new acting Attorney-General.
Yates sack came after she told Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.
The White House said “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.
“This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country.
“Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country”.
Yates, in her directive refusing to enforce the presidential order wrote: “My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts.
“In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.
“At present, I am not convinced that the defence of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful”.
The White House statement added that “tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons”.
The White House quoted Boente as accepting the honour to serve in the new capacity.
“I am honoured to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed.
“I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected,” Boente was quoted as saying.
NAN recalls that Trump’s order temporarily banned immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia and indefinitely stopped Syrian refugees from coming to the United States. (NAN)