BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — The White House announced Monday evening that President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and is placing U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente, in the position.
In a statement, The White House says Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
The statement calls Yates an Obama administration appointee “who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
This decision comes days after the President’s executive order, temporarily suspends the U.S. refugee program and bars immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Yates released a memo on Monday to top lawyers at the Justice Department, questioning such strict border regulations and directing DOJ legal counsel not to defend the President’s order.
Trump has picked Sen. Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department, but he has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
The full statement from the White House:
“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, 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.
“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.