2nd UPDATE, 6:24 PM: The White House said tonight that President Donald Trump has fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she told DOJ officials not to defend his travel ban. He replaced her with Dana Boente, a U.S. Attorney in Virginia, “until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.” Here is the statement:
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 travelling 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.
UPDATED with Donald Trump tweet: We spoke too soon. President Donald Trump did not wait for early morning to tweet his thoughts on Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ dispatch about his travel ban. He tweeted:
PREVIOUSLY: Anticipating President Donald Trump’s tweets tomorrow morning: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates – an Obama administration leftover – this afternoon issued a letter saying the Justice Department “will not present arguments in defense of” Trump’s travel ban.” Yates said she’s not convinced Trump’s immigration order is “lawful” and has told DOJ staffers to refrain from defending his executive order, in re those various legal challenges already launched.
TV News feasting on the development now — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer repeatedly called it a “constitutional crisis — and late-night hosts get their crack at it tonight.