Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], May 9 : Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates has defended her decision earlier this year to not enforce United States President Donald Trump's first ban on travel from several majority-Muslim nations, dubbing the order as "unlawful." "All arguments have to be based on truth," Yates said during testimony before a Senate panel.
"We're not just a law firm. We're the Department of Justice." Yates appeared before the subcommittee on Monday to testify about alleged Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.
When Sen. John Cornyn said Yates' actions with regard to the executive order were "enormously disappointing" and accused her of undermining the powers of the President because she disagreed with Trump's order "as a policy matter," she said that her actions were not done "purely as a policy matter" and cited her confirmation hearing, where she was asked about enforcing actions she viewed as against the law.
"I made a determination that I believed that it was unlawful," Yates added. "I also thought that it was inconsistent with the principles of the Department of Justice, and I said 'no.' And that's what I promised you I would do, and that's what I did." Earlier, shortly after Trump issued his first travel ban, Yates had directed the Justice Department to not enforce it, following which Trump promptly fired her and appointed U.S.
Attorney Dana Boente to take her place until the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions to be the attorney general.
Yates was an Obama appointee whom Trump asked to stay on as the temporary head of the Justice Department.