President Donald Trump on Monday night fired Sally Yates, the acting U.S. attorney general, who refused to defend his immigration executive orders in court.
The White House said in a statement that Yates was let go after she told staff to hold off on Monday afternoon.
“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,” the White House said in a statement on Monday. “This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.”
“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,” Yates wrote in a letter announcing her position to employees before she was let go, AP reported. “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.”
Yates, a President Barack Obama administration holdover, was acting as attorney general until the U.S. Senate confirms Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Dana Buente is Yates’ replacement, the White House said.