Interview With Jeff Sessions Predicted Sally Yates Being Fired
Sally Yates, then serving as acting attorney general, said no to the president's orders on Monday, saying they were unlawful.
On Monday night, Trump fired her for that.
The dramatic irony here is that Yates was appointed to that position in part because of her promise to stand up for the law, not the president.
And even more dramatic irony? The person who made her promise that was none other than Trump's pick for new attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
During Yates's Senate confirmation hearing in 2015, when members of Congress asked her a bunch of questions to decide if they could confirm her to the deputy attorney general position or not, Sessions had a chance to ask his own questions.
This was while Barack Obama was still president, and Sessions was concerned Yates would just be a yes-woman to Obama's plans.
You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about. Do you think the attorney general has the responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that's improper?
Sessions brought up Attorney General Loretta Lynch, implying that Obama appointed her to forward his views. He asked,
If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?
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.
Indeed, that's exactly what Yates did on Monday by saying no to President Trump.
She rejected Trump's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, which split families apart and caused chaos as it was enacted on Friday night, prompting mass protests.
According to Yates, she declined to defend it because she was "not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful."
That action is exactly what Sessions asked her to do: Say no when a president suggests something deemed unlawful.
And it's exactly what got her fired by Trump... who wants to replace her with Sessions.
One could maybe suggest politicians only care about saying no on the basis of lawfulness when it doesn't hurt a fellow party member.