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Monday, January 30, 2017

UPDATE: Acting AG tells DoJ staff "don't defend Trump's refugee order

UPDATE: She's fired! 

President Trump has fired Acting AG Sally Yates. He has every right to fire any Attorney General who refuses to back him up, as long as what is in question is legal. Like it or not, you have to admit, Donald Trump isn't your father's President.

Mr. Dana Boente will be taking Yates' place as Acting AG.

The news of her firing just came in at around 9:40 p.m. Monday.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, directed the Justice Department attorneys Monday not to defend President Trump's executive refugee and immigration ban. Yates is an Obama holdover until she can be replaced by the Trump administration.

The AG said in a memo that she was "not convinced" the President's order was lawful, not its defense consistent with the DoJ's obligation to "always seek justice and stand for what is right."

That sounds as if she's suggesting the President stands for what is wrong.

Her directive is likely to be temporary because Sen. Jeff Sessions will likely be the Attorney General and Yates will be back to practicing law on a less political level, one only hopes. Sessions is currently waiting for Senate confirmation.

However, Yates' decision has only increased the chaos surrounding the order. The Associated Press said that Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation as Secretary of State, are reportedly unaware of details of the directive until around the time the President signed it. Also, intelligence officials were not provided with the intel about the order.


Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said despite White House assurances that congressional leaders were consulted, he learned about the order the same way Barack Obama learned about everything he learned as president: from the media.

There was immediate fallout between Trump and his top advisers and a sprint by the Pentagon to seek exemptions to the order. Trump's approach also sparked a public clash between the president and the civil servants who had to carry out his policy.


Many American diplomats circulated a memo opposing the order which temporarily halted the entire US refugee program and banned entry from seven terrorist-spawning countries for 90 days. Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary and spokesman challenged those opposed to Trump's measure to resign.

"They should either get with the program, or they can go," he said.

The response from his own national security advisers exemplifies his weak relationship with them, as well as the incredible bureaucracy that exists in Washington. Trump outlined his plan for the temporary halting of US entry but it was crafted in a confusing way, stunning those who joined his team.

Mattis may be the most incensed. He along with Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford were aware of the basic concept of Trump's order, but not the details. Tillerson told Trump's political advisers that he was baffled over not being consulted on the actual substance of the order.

Trump's order pauses the refugee program for 4 months and indefinitely bans all those from Syria, but it doesn't ban other countries with terrorist ties such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

While Trump privately acknowledges flaws in the rollout, he also blames the media, much like Obama blamed George Bush for all the problems he's facing. He said the voters who carried him to victory support the plan as a necessary step to safeguard the USA, and dismissed those opposed to it as attention-seeking rabble-rousers and grandstanding politicians.

That sounds like a dodge.

Let's hope this gets straightened out once Jeff Sessions, his SCOTUS appointment, is in office and his Cabinet is filled completely.