YOU'RE FIRED: Trump Sacks Acting Attorney General For Refusing To Defend Immigration Executive Order In Court

by BEN SHAPIRO January 31, 2017

On Monday afternoon, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who is in place until Trump attorney general pick Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate, chose to politically posture over President Trump's immigration/refugee executive order: she told the Department of Justice that lawyers should not defend the executive order in court. That's not the first time Democrats have tried such a gambit - on the state level, Kamala Harris, as attorney general of California, simply refused to represent Proposition 8 in California, refusing to stand with the will of the people regarding same-sex marriage. For that failure to do her duty, she was rewarded with a Senate seat.

Yates, fully grandstanding, stated, "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." She did not explain how Trump's executive order was unconstitutional.

VideoTrump Fires Acting Attorney General Yates

Trump quickly tweeted:


On Monday night, President Trump did the right thing: he fired her.

Yates' ouster leaves Dana Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general. The administration's statement on the firing sounds like it was dictated by Trump personally:

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 traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country. Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, US 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. "I am honored 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," said Dana Boente, Acting Attorney General.

In dicier legal territory, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer stated today that if nonpolitical staffers register dissent over the policy, "that does call into question whether or not they should continue in that post." There are rules in place at the State Department that protects those who sign dissent memos.

Trump made the right move with Yates. She clearly wanted the attention of slapping Trump in the face before heading out the door, and she got it. The Attorney General serves at the pleasure of the president, and is subject to his ability to fire. Attorney Generals who refuse to abide by the law based on their policymaking preferences are in the wrong position. If Yates wants to run for Congress, she can. Otherwise, she ought to do her job. No administration can function with the attorney general refusing to abide by the law.

She didn't, so she's gone.

Good for Trump.

UPDATE: Boente has now revoked Yates' order to the other DOJ attorneys.

A version of this piece also appeared on

Benjamin Shapiro is the editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire. He was born in 1984. He entered UCLA at the age of 16 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in Political Science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007. Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the U.S.  His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites including Townhall, ABCNews, WorldNet Daily, Human Events, FrontPage Mag, Family Security Matters, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Conservative Chronicle. The author of the national bestsellers, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth (WND Books, May 2004), Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future (Regnery, June 2005), and Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House (Thomas Nelson, 2008),

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