Donald Trump sacks acting Attorney General over Immigration Ban
- Donald Trump has fired Democrat-appointed acting Attorney General Sally Yates
- White House accused her of 'betraying' Justice Department after she refused to support the president's so-called 'Muslim ban'
- Yates had directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend the travel ban saying she was not convinced the order was lawful
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Daniel Ragsdale was fired just two hours later
- Dana Boente was sworn in at 9pm on Monday as new acting Attorney General
- Boente will serve until Senator Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate
President Donald Trump has fired the acting Attorney General after she refused to defend his controversial immigration order.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Daniel Ragsdale was fired just two hours later without explanation.
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, was accused of 'betraying' America after she directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trump's so called 'Muslim ban' on Monday. She said she was not convinced the order was lawful.
Dana Boente was sworn in as acting attorney general at 9pm on Monday in a hastily arranged ceremony after Trump fired his predecessor. He has already issued an order for the Justice Department to defend Trump's executive order.
Meanwhile Thomas Homan has been appointed to take over as Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency from Ragsdale.
President Donald Trump has fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to defend his controversial immigration order
Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has been appointed as her replacement until Senator Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that 'POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved'
Senator Ted Cruz, once Trump's presidential candidate rival, has defended his decision to fire the 'lawless' Yates saying the president was 'exactly right.'
'After eight long years of a lawless Obama Department of Justice, it is fitting - and sad - that the very last act of the Obama DOJ is for the Acting AG to defy the newly elected President, refuse to enforce the law, and force the President to fire her,' he wrote on Facebook.
He added that Yates joined the 'ignominious succession' of Attorneys General, from Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch, 'who put brazen partisan interests above fidelity to law.'
'Yates' lawless partisanship highlights why the Senate needs to act now - and Senate Democrats should end their extreme political obstruction and delay - and confirm Jeff Sessions immediately.'
Earlier, CNN reported that Yates wrote a letter to lawyers explaining: 'My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts.'
'In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,' she continued.
'At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,' she concluded.
A statement from the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that Yates has 'betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.'
Response: Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday night to express his dissatisfaction at Acting AG Yates' stance
President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense Friday at the Pentagon. Trump signed two orders, one calling for the 'great rebuilding' of the nation's military, and another on 'extreme vetting' of visa seekers from terror-plagued countries
Senator Ted Cruz, once Trump's presidential candidate rival, has defended his decision to fire the 'lawless' Yates
'Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,' Spicer said. '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.'
Acting Attorney General Boente, who has worked for the Justice Department for more than 30 years, will be in position until Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate.
Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail to keep Sessions out of the Cabinet, with many threatening to delay following his ban on immigrants and refugees from certain countries.
Boente said that he was 'honored' to serve until Sessions could be confirmed.
'I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected,' he added. Spicer also tweeted about the appointment on Monday evening.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, left, and other members of Congress, in front of the Supreme Court about President Donald Trump's recent executive orders
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in front of the Supreme Court
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York stand as Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D- N.Y., speaks in front of the Supreme Court
Currently, there are lawsuits filed in at least five states including Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and California, which challenge the order that the new president signed on Friday.
It bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming into the United States for 90 days, while pausing the refugee program for 120 days.
Protests against Trump's action have broken out at major airports and in major cities including New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Before she was fired, -Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Yates a 'person of integrity.'
'And this is a poor reflection on President Trump and his entire administration,' Schumer said. 'They put this together in a slapdash way, it's almost as if they wrote it on the back of an envelope – they didn't check its legality.'
'When you do something as important as this, it can't be a Twitter-type activity,' Schumer continued. 'It's a very bad omen for this presidency.'
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security gave no explanation why Trump has sacked acting director Ragsdale.
It simply confirmed that Homan, the executive associate director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, had been appointed in his place. Homan is a former New York cop who has worked in immigration enforcement for the past thirty years.
'I am confident that he will continue to serve as a strong, effective leader for the men and women of ICE. I look forward to working alongside him to ensure that we enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States consistent with the national interest,' the statement said.
Word of Trump's new executive order halting immigration from nine countries, which at first was applied even to green card holders from Iraq and other listed nations, sparked immediate protests at airports among those arguing it was ill-advised, un-American or even unconstitutional.
All the countries included have Muslim majority populations. Also excluded are countries with whom Trump has maintained business interests, such as the United Arab Emirates.
The policy has drawn international backlash including from allied leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and lawmakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain.
Even State Department employees have criticized the controversial order.
A dissent memo, circulating with 100 signatories, argues that Trump's executive order barring the State Department from issuing visas to citizens of Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Libya will not achieve its stated purpose, to protect the country from terrorism.
It further points out that countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not included in the order, even though citizens of those countries have committed acts of terrorism in the United States in the past.
The executive action will 'immediately' sour relations with the countries affected and 'much of the Muslim world, which sees the ban as religiously motivated,' the dissenters write. 'It will increase anti-American sentiment,' the draft memo argues, 'hostility towards the United States will grow.'
Demonstrators block traffic at the international arrival terminal as they protest against muslim immigration ban at San Francisco International Airport
American voters backed suspending immigration from 'terror prone' countries by 48 to 42, the survey revealed. A new group of 40 Syrian refugees arrive at Fiumicino airport in Rome following a flight from Beirut
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has since issued an ultimatum to either 'get with the program or they can go.'
'At some point if they have a big problem with the policies that he's instituting to keep the country safe, then that's up to them to question whether or not they want to stay or not,' Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing.
He brought up polling showing that more Americans agree with the travel ban, that prohibits Syrians from coming the country indefinitely, than not and proclaimed that 'the American people support what the president is doing.'
A Quinnipiac poll taken early this month, before Trump took office, showed majority support not only for an immigration crackdown but for a 'Muslim registry,' an idea Trump also promoted on the campaign trail.
American voters backed suspending immigration from such 'terror prone' countries by 48 to 42, the survey revealed.
They are 'pleased that this president is taking the steps necessary to protect this country,' he said.
'If somebody has a problem with that agenda, then they should ques – then that does call into question whether or not they should continue in that post or not,' he said of State Department employees protesting the travel restrictions.
The White House on Friday asked four career State Department officials who were appointees of Obama, including Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary for management, to quit allowing them to submit their resignation, in line with protocol.
State Department employees harboring anger about President Donald Trump's travel ban are welcome to find a new place to work, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday
Meanwhile, a huge crowd gathered in front of the Supreme Court as Democratic lawmakers led a rally protesting President Donald Trump's executive order banning refugees.
The lawmakers could barely be heard above the chants from the crowd, which included 'Do your job' and 'No ban, no wall.'
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who called Trump's ban 'evil' promised the crowd the Democrats would 'fight with everything we have and we will win.' Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon led the crowd in a chant of 'Tear down that ban.'
Sen. Bernie Sanders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Jerrold Nadler also took to the stage to demand an end to the ban.
Hundreds carried signs with slogans like 'Dissent Is Patriotic,' ''Impeach' and 'This Is What Democracy Looks Like.'
Pelosi branded what Trump did as 'not constitutional, to many of us, it's immoral.'
The rally capped a day of Democratic resistance to Trump's new immigration restrictions as the party ramped up its fight against the president's orders.
The protest comes after Senate Republicans successfully blocked the Democratic effort to overturn the ban.
Even the Pentagon, which was not consulted during the crafting of Trump's order, has challenged parts of it and are drawing up a list of Iraqis who have assisted the United States who would be exempted from a 90-day seven-country ban.
Those Iraqis who served the United States as drivers, interpreters, or in other roles would be exempted from the new ban, which went into effect as soon as it was issued Friday night.
A Quinnipiac University survey in early January probed support for some of Donald Trump's policies
A Quinnipiac University survey in early January probed support for some of Donald Trump's policies
A list being drawn up by the Pentagon under newly-installed Secretary of Defense James Mattis could number thousands of people, the Los Angeles Times reported.
'Even people that are doing seemingly benign things in support of us — whether as a linguist, a driver, anything else — they often do that at great personal risk,' Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Monday.
Some Iraqis and Afghan citizens have obtained special immigrant visas, under a program authorized by Congress, in recognition of their service.
'I think we recognize that people who have served this country we should make sure that in those cases they're helped out. But that doesn't mean that we just give them a pass,' White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday.
'The Obama administration, I think it was 2009 let two people through the Iraqi program in. Those people came to the United States and tried to plan an attack in Kentucky,' he noted.
The administration clamped down on Iraqi admissions in 2011 while it ran names against federal databases, after an Iraqi man, Waad Ramadan Alwan, who had been granted asylum, was found to have have constructed roadside bombs in Iraq.