Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates became a liberal folk hero Monday after she ordered Department of Justice lawyers not to defend Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Hours later, Yates was fired.
— TR (@yottapoint) January 31, 2017
After her dismissal, a video began to circulate from Yates’ confirmation hearing, in which she was asked whether she would have the capacity and ability to say “no” to the president, were she to be the acting AG.
The man asking this question of Yates was Senator Jeff Sessions, the very man who is currently in the midst of his own Senate confirmation to be the next Attorney General of the United States.
“You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things and you need to say no. You think the attorney general has the responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that’s improper?” Sessions asked Yates in 2015. “A lot of people have defended the Lynch nomination, for example, by saying, ‘well, he appoints somebody who’s going to execute his views, what’s wrong with that?'”
Sessions then asked Yates if she would be willing to do the very thing she did on Monday — disagree with the president when she felt he or she was on the wrong side of the law.
“But if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?” he asked.
“Senator, I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” Yates replied.
In a statement, the White House claimed that by disagreeing with the president, Yates “betrayed the Justice Department.”