Interim Attorney General Replaced After Taking Defiant Position on Executive Order

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In what some are calling “the Monday Night Massacre,” President Donald J. Trump fired interim Attorney General Sally Yates Monday evening after Yates declared that she would not enforce Trump’s latest Executive Order blocking entry into the U.S. for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. According to reports, Yates learned of her firing evening via a hand-delivered letter from the White House Office of Personnel.

The President’s move came hours after Yates delivered an uncommonly defiant letter to senior attorneys in the Justice Department informing the attorneys that the agency would not be defending the Executive Order. In the letter, Yates cited her obligation to “stand for what is right” as the basis for her position and directly called the legality of the Executive Order into question.

In a statement following the dismissal, President Trump admonished Yates for her behavior, stating that she “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” The statement also applied further pressure to Democratic senators by reiterating President Trump’s previous accusation that the senators are delaying the confirmation of his nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for “strictly political reasons.”

President Trump named Dana Boente, who before Monday served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as Yates’ replacement. After being named Acting Attorney General, Boente signaled her intention to enforce the Executive Order, stating that she would “defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected.”

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