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‘He’s trampled the rule of law.’ Former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates skewers Trump at the DNC

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VIDEO | 02:09
‘He’s trampled the rule of law’: Former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates skewers Trump at the DNC

Former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates makes her case against President Trump at the Democratic National Convention.

In 2017, President Trump heaved former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates out of his administration for defying one of his first orders in office.

Now, in 2020, Yates has landed at the Democratic National Convention to make her case against his reelection and to endorse Joe Biden.

In Tuesday’s night’s virtual convention, held digitally over coronavirus concerns, Yates told Democrats in a remote appearance from Atlanta that “from the moment President Trump took office, he’s used his position to benefit himself rather than our country. He’s trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department to attack his enemies and protect his friends.”

Yates said that Trump “fawns over a dictator” — Russia’s Vladimir Putin — and that the president treats America “like his family business,” eroding democratic institutions such as the U.S. Postal Service. She added: “We need a president who respects our laws and the privilege of public service. Who reflects our values and cares about our people. We need a president who will restore the soul of America. We need Joe Biden.”

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Yates, a career prosecutor and a deputy attorney general from the Obama administration, temporarily assumed the role of attorney general in the early days of Trump’s presidency and was fired 10 days later for refusing to enforce Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries.

Yates became one of the earliest “resistance” figures of the Trump administration, which would become its own subgenre of news coverage: the career public servants who refuse to go along with what they saw as the administration’s corrosion of their legal and ethical responsibilities.

The executive order had sparked chaos and protests at airports around the country, and Yates responded by telling Justice Department attorneys to not defend the government against the lawsuits that immediately started rolling in.

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Yates also testified to Congress in May 2017 that she had warned top Trump administration officials twice in January that Trump’s then-national security advisor, Michael Flynn, “could be blackmailed” by Russia, may have violated criminal statutes and had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his dealings with Russian officials.


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