An Obama holdover who was temporarily running the Justice Department just got fired by President Trump after an act of defiance. Mere hours after acting attorney general Sally Yates said the department would not defend Trump's refugee executive order in court while she was in charge, Trump made sure that she was no longer in charge. Her announcement was largely symbolic anyway, notes the New York Times, given that nominee Jeff Sessions is expected to assume the office of attorney general in a matter of days, perhaps even Tuesday. In the interim, Yates will be replaced by Dana Boente, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, reports Politico.
A White House statement said Yates "has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States," adding that she is "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration." Earlier, Yates wrote a memo to Justice Department lawyers, saying they should not defend the order in court because she wasn't convinced it was lawful. (Read it here.) The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote Tuesday on Sessions, reports the Washington Post. In the meantime, court challenges to Trump's ban have been filed in at least five states, notes CNN: Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and California.