The Case Against Sally Yates

Below is my column in The Hill on the possible nomination of Sally Yates as the next United States Attorney General. One of the names on the short list is Judge Merrick Garland who would not only be unifying for the country but unassailable at a confirmation hearing. However, Yates’ record raises serious questions about her judgment and actions at the Justice Department.

Here is the column:

As Joe Biden fills out his Cabinet, more attention is drawn to the position of attorney general and one of the most cited names on the short list, which is Sally Yates. Her consideration is surprising for a president-elect who has pledged to unify the country and move beyond the destructive politics of the last four years. I always admired the obvious talent and intellect of Yates. But my overall assessment of her changed dramatically almost four years ago, when she staged an epic battle with a newly inaugurated President Trump and thereby forged her own legend.

Yates had only a few days left in government when she became acting attorney general in January 2017, following the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. One week later, Trump signed an executive order that restricted travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority countries. Yates then took the unprecedented step of ordering the Justice Department to refuse to assist the president in implementing the ban.

I was an early critic of the travel ban, which had glaring errors like the absence of exceptions for legal residents or green-card holders. (Those errors were corrected in an amended order.) The ban was an issue upon which Trump campaigned and won the presidency and he wanted to move in that first week to carry out some of his core promises. But the order was poorly drafted, poorly executed and, ultimately, poorly defended. Yates could have worked with the White House to seek changes, as would later occur; instead, she ordered a federal department to refuse to assist the president.

In issuing her order, Yates dismissed a review by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel which found the order to be lawful. Yates did not expressly reject that conclusion; she simply stated that she was not convinced the order was “wise or just” or was “lawful.” It is not the job of Justice Department attorneys to decide if a president is acting in a “wise or just” manner but, instead, only if the action is lawful. If Yates felt the order was unlawful, she could have resigned, as did Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” under President Nixon. However, she apparently did not want to be known simply as someone who resigned a few days before she was scheduled to leave office.

Yates knew exactly what she was doing, and what Trump would have to do: He rightfully fired her. It was a brilliant political move by Yates. With only a couple days left in her post, Yates engineered her own firing and became a self-made hero for Democrats everywhere. It did not matter that former Justice officials, including outspoken critics of Trump, questioned whether her action was ethical or justified. Former Justice official and Harvard professor Jack Goldsmith pointed out that Yates neither determined the immigration order to be unconstitutional nor cited any basis for refusing to defend it. Accordingly, he said, Yates left the impression of “insubordination that invites the president to fire her.”

Yates knew that she would be fired and her replacement would carry out the obligations of the Department to assist the President of the United States. Many of those lawyers did not agree with the travel ban but they did they job as they had promised to do in representing the United States.  Yates maintained afterward that she believed the ban might still be discriminatory, even with revisions. This was a question that divided career attorneys inside the Department and the OLC had found the order presumptively lawful. These lawyers proceeded to defend the order (and later amended versions) to allow the courts to address the issue of discrimination.

Yet the media followed the rule cited by the newspaper editor in the movie, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” — “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The legend of Sally Yates lived on. Indeed, she made sure it did. She was given a high-profile speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, as the personification of a new Justice Department’s commitment to the rule of law. She declared: “I was fired for refusing to defend Trump’s shameful and unlawful Muslim travel ban.” The problem is that her statement is untrue. She never declared the order unlawful.

While the order was tweaked and changed, the main ban on Muslim countries remained and challengers took it to the Supreme Court in 2018. There, the challengers insisted the changes in the order did not alter the main objections to a ban on Muslim countries. The court upheld the travel ban, reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It held that Trump had a “sufficient national security justification” for his order. It also held that, despite most of the banned countries being Muslim-majority, the ban “does not support an inference of religious hostility.”

Trump later expanded the ban. In other words, Yates prevented the Justice Department from assisting the president on a ban that was later found lawful, as her own OLC staff concluded.

What is most remarkable in this story is not that the ban was upheld, since there were strong arguments on both sides. It was that Yates never determined the order to be unlawful and did not leave it to the courts to resolve the issue. This was not her only controversy. Yates signed off on the application for secret surveillance of Carter Page, which was found by the inspector general to be riddled with errors and based on faulty information. Page was never charged with any crime. There is no indication that Yates made any substantive inquiries on the basis for the application, which she now says she would not have signed if she knew what she knows today. She just signed it and assumed it was legal, despite the targeting of a campaign aide in the opposing party.

Yates also showed little concern over the basis for investigating Michael Flynn, another key aide to the incoming president of the opposing party. While she recently expressed a lack of clear memory on the issue, prior reports linked her to raising the possible use against Flynn of the Logan Act, a notoriously unconstitutional law that has never been used to secure a single conviction since its creation in 1799.

The basis was Flynn’s conversations with Russian diplomats shortly before becoming Trump’s national security adviser. There was nothing unlawful or even uncommon in such a communication. Indeed, then FBI Director James Comey reportedly told President Obama and Vice President Biden that the meetings appeared legitimate. Yet Yates reportedly went to the White House to raise the alarm and, in a 2017 interview, she had no memory problems in declaring that “there is certainly a criminal statute that was implicated” by the conduct of Flynn.

So the legend of Yates was largely self-created and media sustained. Biden can create a more lasting legacy at the Justice Department, but he first will need to sever it from its mythological past.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

403 thoughts on “The Case Against Sally Yates”

  1. Turley applauds Trump for firing Yates the day after we heard from Trump’s Homeland Security Cybersecurity chief who Trump also fired. Trump was livid when Krebs, a lifelong Republican, verified that the 2020 election was the most secure in US history. Yesterday Krebs confirmed that an extensive 4 year effort was done by our country’s intelligence community, Dept of Defense & FBI to safeguard our election system from any kind of attacks. Trump fired Krebs just like he fired Yates.

    Today Trump once again attacked Kemp & Raffensperger for verifying Biden won Georgia after an extensive hand count of every ballot. Trump called Kemp “a hapless governor” & Raffensperger “an obstinate Secretary of State.” Both of them are lifelong Republicans who voted for Trump. Raffensperger has received numerous death threats while Turley makes the case against Yates.

    Turley’s priorities are clearly on display today.

    1. Party has little to do with principles. You should know that. Remove references to party and what do you have to say? Very little.

      Krebs has a right to say what he wishes. He also has the right to quit or be fired.

      Was this the most secure election? Look at PA. Look at the Supreme Court and the warning that certain things should not be done. The warning was not followed. How can Krebs be correct?

      In the end it doesn’t look as if you have anything left in your comment so I am dependent on you to point it out.

        1. You are a stupid fellow. Though you didn’t address me I will respond. Look at what Sam Alito ordered, segregate late mail in ballots. If you are too stupid to check the facts then perhaps you should remain silent. You don’t and that is why so many continuously correct what you say.

          [For your benefit alone as no one else apparently has your lack of knowledge. Sam Alito is one of the nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is responsible for an area of the country that includes Pennsylvania.]

          The rest of your comments have little to do with the subject matter or the law. They have more to do with your OCD and need not be responded to.

          1. Allan, if you bothered to inform yourself, you’d know that the ballots postmarked by election day but arriving late aren’t a matter of election security.

    2. You do understand, though probably not, that if a precinct simply recounts the same unlawful, illegal, invalid and dead person ballots over and over the results will always be the same. If a precinct actually audits all the ballots, including signature checks, legal addresses and removes the invalid ballots the results will definitely be different. The entire country accepts that there are massive occurrences of anomalies, strange ballot dump uploads and appearances of pristine, unfolded ballots that are, amazingly, 90+% for Biden. So the left’s normal response is “Move along here, nothing to see.” So typical.

    3. Trump was livid when Krebs, a lifelong Republican, verified that the 2020 election was the most secure in US history.

      I shouldn’t have to say this, but there were 58 Presidential elections before this one, and Krebs doesn’t know a thing about the “security” of any of them.

      In other words, it’s self-evident that he’s lying.

      1. I have no idea what the “security” of the election even means.

        Krebs was a “cybersecurity” expert. Few of the claims of fraud regarding this election have anything to do with cyber security.

        Those few if true are extremely disturbing. No voting systems should be connected to the internet at any time while an election is taking place. That is for a substantial period before and after election day – there is significant evidence that was NOT the case.

        I have not yet seen credible evidence that the election was hacked from the outside over the internet.
        But there is plenty of evidence that it could have been.

        In general we handle elections abysmally considering how important they are.

        Regardless any statement by Krebs that this election was the most secure is obvious nonsense.

        That said aside from the Dominion Voting Systems claims, the overwhelming majority of Fraud in this election have absolutely nothing to do with Krebs area of expertise.

        The vast majority of the fraud in this election was the same kinds of good old fashioned fraud we have seen for 250 years.

  2. Why isn’t their a Judicial Branch check, by judges, on (Executive Branch) Executive Orders for blatantly unconstitutional orders prior to action? This seems like a fundamental flaw in the American system.

    Instead we allow innocent Americans to be harmed, suffering constitutional injury, then the courts show up after innocent people get hurt, destroyed or killed. If it’s a blatant constitutional violation why can’t we have a “EO Preemption Doctrine” for rogue presidents?

  3. You made me blow milk through my nose with your joke. Judge Garland impeached yes, him becoming Attorney General Garland will tear this country apart. Can’t you even remember General Flynn’s appeals case which Judge Garland voted against, we can. Another corrupted political judge acting as AG will be spat upon in public. Judge Garland should be impeached not rewarded. Oh and Dominion still hasn’t filed a lawsuit against Sidney Powell.

      1. The constitution does not say a judge has to break a law to be removed , it says “the judges both superior and inferior Shall hold their office during times of good behaviour”

        1. High crimes are the main reason for impeachment. If he didn’t commit a high crime, what’s the reason you’re calling for him to be impeached?

  4. Imagine if we had had an Attorney General these last four years who stood up to the President and said “no, we can’t have a policy of separating families at the border, never to reunite them again.” I think the world would have been a better place if we did that. I suspect of Sally Yates had been AG, she would have said that, even if it would seem to someone like Turley to be insubordinate.

    1. NeedsaHistoryBook:

      “no, we can’t have a policy of separating families at the border, never to reunite them again.”
      What makes you think mataYates would say that? She kept with the silence of the Sphinx when Obama built those same cages and separated those same precious families who now abandon their kids at the border facilities. A soft heart is sentimental; a soft head is fatal.

    2. “no, we can’t have a policy of separating families at the border, never to reunite them again.”

      Apparently you are ignorantly unaware that Obama was called “The Deporter in Chief” by immigrant rights activists because of his record of deportations.

      I just refer to Barry as the “Wall Street Shineboy”. But Malcolm X had a far more accurate name for him.

    3. Cages. The memories of those with TDS forget the cages were built by Obama. Even the pictures of the cages by the MSM were pictures from the Obama administration.

      One is hopeless when they can’t get their facts straight.

    4. Don’t be a fool. Obama implemented the family separations and Obama built the cages. Most of the “family separations” are not families at all – they are kids being trafficked from central America and separating them keeps them safe from the traffickers. The actual parents in their home country (from whom they were kidnapped) don’t want them back because they are in America now, and they have a better chance at a good life if they go through the system in America and end up getting released. You have fallen victim to the media’s propaganda.

    5. Imagine if we had had an Attorney General these last four years who stood up to the President and said “no, we can’t have a policy of separating families at the border, never to reunite them again.”

      Yes indeed, I can imagine. Can you imagine that Obama did exactly that when he was bumbling along as president?

    1. Sure mespo, you prefer guys who’ve never been in court but get invited to Federalist Society parties like Barr.

      1. What a shocker!

        Joey ChiCom has a problem with individual liberty as espoused by the Federalist Society.

        Does that help your social credit score with Pooh Bear?

      2. Fished:
        “Sure mespo, you prefer guys who’ve never been in court but get invited to Federalist Society parties like Barr.”
        Well, lord a mercy we agree on a few things. You’re right about Barr. He was no litigator. Instead, he took the gov’t revolving door route into business and then back to government. That said, he had his head screwed on right on most topics. I always prefer a litigator to a non-litigator because a litigator knows how to win and conversely (and despite his best efforts) that he can lose. It makes for a more measured approach to policies. However, it takes a litigator to be fearless sometimes – and courage is a precious commodity in government as in you rarely see it. Trump is fearless – it’s part of his appeal. Barr talks a good game but results were few.

        Yates can find a courtroom but is the proto-typical globalist and needs to be nowhere near power. She’s a shrew and vindictive.

        1. So, a woman who is “fearless” – and also has principles and a brain – is a shrew and vindictive.

          Glad we agree that an AG should no more about courtrooms than studying them in school. I’d add judges to that and the only 2 in recent memory to make it to the top were Loretta :Lynch and Sotomayor.

          1. If Yates was “fearless and principled” – she would have resigned.

            SCOTUS, Turley, even Yates and you have ultimately argued that the only real issues with Trump’s original EO were minor drafting issues.

            By that standard every governors pandemic orders would be “unconstitutional” – they actually are but for reasons of substance not grammar.

            So you are saying that Yates took “a principled stand over grammar” that cost her job ?

            I would note that the original Trump EO was modeled directly after an earlier Similar Obama EO that did not generate furror – in leftistan it is OK for black presidents with islamic backgrounds to descriminate against predominantly mulsim countries – because most terrorists come from those countries.

            Where was Yates on those EO’s ?

            Where was Yates when the Obama administration was using the IRS to target political enemies ?
            Where was Yates when the Obama administration was spying on and targeting Journalists ?
            Where was Yates when the Obama administration was spying on and targeting Senators ?

            You argue that Yates took a principled stand ? Where were her principles when she participated in the efforts to Sack and prosecute Flynn AFTER it was determined Flynn had done nothing wrong ?

            Yates was a big champion of using the unconstitutional Logan act. We already have numerous democrats who may be part of a Biden administration violating it. Where is Yates and demanding they should be prosecuted ?

            Why in the world would you want as AG someone who can only see violations of the law when they are done by republicans ?

            Either the Logan act is unconstititional and applies to NO ONE or it applies to everyone – including all those in the prospective Biden administration who are at this very moment actively trying to interfere With Trump’s foreign policy.

            You can prefer their policy or not. But they are either free to do so because the logan act is unconstitutional and because not merely incoming administrations – but any american can insert themselves into US foreign policy, making promises if they wish. or NO ONE can.

            There is no legitimate basis by which Flynn can not, but Biden’s people can.

            1. As noted in her career summary posted earlier, Yates was hired by a Republican USA and was given a positive rating by Georgia’s 2 GOP Senators. She is not an partisan ideologue.

              1. So what ?

                AGAIN – I am not a republican.

                I can give you a long list of disreputable republicans in government.
                Mueller and Comey are/were allegedly republicans.

                Yates actively participated in the illegal efforts to interfere in the election of 2016 and later the presidency of Trump.

                As Acting AG she substituted her own values for the official policy of the US government as determined by the president.

                She was free to do so – from OUTSIDE government. Not from inside. Further her claims that the EO were unconstitional were incorrect.
                And she knew or should have known better as the Trump EO was based on an Obama EO that she did not similarly oppose.

                Yates can do whatever she wishes in private life.

                She should not serve in the federal government ever again.
                Nor should any of the people who participated in Crossfire Huricane.

                1. John Say accused Yates of partisanship. I pointed out that her record indicates otherwise. Fortunately it won’t be up to you or Trump who will serve in government in the future.

                  1. I have accursed Yates of immorality.

                    That is what it is when you claim power that does not belong to you.

                    I do not care if Yates was republican. I do not care what the republican or democratic position is.

                    Policy is set by the president. If the policy choices of the president are ACTUALLY unconstitutional it is the responsibility of the legislature, the people and the courts to contest that. It is the responsibility of the executive to impliment and defend the policy of the president.

                    If Yates could not do that she was obligated to resign – where she could lead the challenge against Trump’s policies.

                    I have also accused Yates of being a hypocrit. Trump’s original EO was patterned after an Obama EO that Yates did not feel the need to challenge.

                  2. No JF you have pointed out nothing.

                    You have as yet to make an actual argument – beyond I like Yates. Or I think she was right about the constitutionality of the EO.
                    Both of which would be irrelevant even if true. But the latter is not true.

                    Worse Yates was never able to articulate any basis for her claim the EO was unconstitutional.

                    The constitutionality of the original EO was never established – but the final EO was found constitutional, and the differences were minor.

                    Are you really arguing that Yates went to war with the president over whether Green card holders in Yemen in 2017 were allowed to return to the US ?

                    That certainly was not the basis Yates claimed in here testimony on the issue.

                    So what is this great record of Sally Yates you are standing up for ?

                    Hypocracy ? Constitutional error ? Insubordination ? Assuming power that is not hers ?

                  3. I am not ranting about Biden’s choices – because they are less bad than expected.

                    That does not make them “good”. Thus far they are mostly the B team from the Obama era.

                    Why in the name of god we would want to bring back ANYONE from the obama era ?

                    I really got a laugh out of Biden’s claim his appointments were not political.
                    Of course they were – all appointments are political. And all these people where the same idoits who screwed up at a junior level under Obama. Further all these people are the epitomy of the Swamp that Trump was trying – unsuccessfully to clear out.

                    Absolutely Biden could have made worse choices. But none of them are especially good.

                    Further they are a message – and the message is Obama Redux.

                    Why on earth would democrats want to re-own Obama ?

                    But then again Biden is merely a retread of the most corrupt regime in US history.

                    Obama did what Nixon only dreamed of.

                  4. I would further note that Biden can not reconcile the country – magic words can not accomplish that.

                    One of the problems with the left is you constantly conflate words and feelings with acts.

                    Most of us will admit Obama was one of our more eloquent presidents. Many of his speaches were incredible – if only they were also honest and true.

                    Biden is not 1/10th as elequent.

                    Further he will suffer his entire presidency with the stain of illegitimacy.

                    He is not going to get past the fact that he was elected by very dubious votes in 5 US cities, that he refused to ask to be examined.

  5. Sally Yates was replaced as acting AG by Jeff Sessions, a Trump loyalist and early supporter. Of course, even he was not supportive of the President enough and was eventually fired for insubordination too.

    This seems to happen over and over with Trump. Even the people he brings on seem to shudder at the worst of things Trump does. Being an ethical lawyer can be inconsistent with working for Trump, who demands total loyalty regardless of the legalities of the situation, and is constantly asking his AG to investigate his political enemies.

    So I would conclude that Trump is the problem here, not Yates.

  6. Are “Executive Orders” good for America? Executive Orders should never be an authoritarian tool used to bypass the Bill of Rights but the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed it.

    For example: the Bush Administration’s “Preemption Doctrine” was used to violate the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Federal “Preemption & Prevention Grants” essentially deputized state and local officials to bypass the U.S. Constitution as well.

    Reminder: the U.S. Constitution is a “wartime governing charter” created during wartime and intended to be followed during wartime. The American oath of office, to this wartime governing charter, was even changed following the Civil War to make clear police and state/local officials’ supreme loyalty (in their job authority) is to the constitutional rule of law.

    So why haven’t unconstitutional EOs, like the Preemption Doctrine, been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court?

    1. Reminder: the U.S. Constitution is a “wartime governing charter” created during wartime and intended to be followed during wartime.

      What war are you referring to? The Revolutionary War ended in 1783. Our constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1789 with the Bill of Rights adopted in 1791. Of course it was written for a nation at peace and at war, but what is your source that describes it as a wartime governing charter.

      1. Olly, it is amazing how conveniently people can change history to meet their rhetorical needs. Thanks for pointing that out. Most of us know it but said nothing even though something needed to be said.

      2. re: Olly

        The Constitution was ratified between the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (“America’s 2nd Revolution” according to historian/documentarian Ken Burns). 18th Century England lost the first war but was starting a 2nd war.

        The 3rd Amendment and “temporary Habeas Corpus” clauses are clearly wartime related. Article I is clearly a wartime governing charter. After the Civil War “domestic enemies to the U.S. Constitution” was added so former confederates could serve in the new unity government as police officers, clerks, mayors, governors, legislators and even presidents. The legal requirement was pledging supreme loyalty to the U.S. Constitution – not the nation directly and not the people directly.

  7. As IG Horowitz reported last December, there was no coup and no “spying” on the Trump administration. There was an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign which began in early summer of 2016 and which was kept secret from the public, even though a renewal of the FBI investigation into Hillary was publicly announced by Comey.2 weeks before the election. If that was part of a coup, it was very poorly performed.

    1. “there was no coup and no “spying” on the Trump administration.”

      That’s a bald faced lie.

      Horowitz made multiple criminal referrals to Durham because there was spying on the Trump campaign.

  8. Sally Yates intentionally violated the code of professional responsibility when she refused to represent her client, and, even worse, instructed everyone under her supervision to commit the same breach of duty, guaranteeing that her client would suffer a default judgment against it, had she not been removed for doing so. I had never seen such a brazen violation of that duty in my 32 years of practice. Ordering lawyers to deliberately default their client over its objections? She should have been disbarred for that. I am astonished that no such proceeding was ever initiated. She is a disgrace to the profession.

    1. Trump was not Yates client, the US Constitution and the US were.

      You don’t know this and you are an attorney? Scary

      1. The President was elected by the people so his actions represent the US and the Constitution. Therefore, if Yates acted contrary to the President she acted against the nation. That doesn’t mean she has to follow what the President demanded. She could quit or try to convince the President otherwise. To do anything else is to act against the country and the Constitution.

        There are checks on Presidential power. The AG is not one of them except by resigning from the position.

  9. Incorrectly labeling Yates’s decision on the Muslim ban as being “politically brilliant”, Turley denigrates an obvious act of principle from a previously non-political professional (see below), intended to galvanize resistance to nativist and unconstitutional BS Turley is apparently unfamiliar with the type and seeks to justify the ban as something promised by Trump during the campaign. And…..?

    Sally Yates:

    “Yates went to Dunwoody High School[9] and attended the University of Georgia, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1982. In 1986, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. While in law school, Yates was the executive editor of the Georgia Law Review.[10][11]

    In 1986, Yates was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia.[12] From 1986 to 1989, Yates was an associate at the law firm King & Spalding in Atlanta, specializing in commercial litigation.[12]

    Federal prosecutor
    In 1989, Yates hired as Assistant U.S. Attorney by Bob Barr for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.[13] Early in her career at the Department of Justice, Yates prosecuted a variety of types of cases including white-collar fraud and political corruption.[11] In 1994, she became Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section. She was the lead prosecutor in the case of Eric Rudolph, who committed the Centennial Olympic Park bombing,[14] a terrorist convicted for a series of anti-abortion and anti-gay bombings across the southern United States between 1996 and 1998, which killed two people and injured over 120 others.[15] She rose to First Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002 and to Acting U.S. Attorney in 2004. In the U.S. Attorney’s office she held leadership positions under both Republican and Democratic administrations.[16]

    President Barack Obama nominated Yates to be U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2010.[13] Yates was the first woman to hold that position in the Northern District of Georgia.[11] During her time as a U.S. Attorney, Yates was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to be Vice Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.[13]

    Deputy Attorney General
    On May 13, 2015, the United States Senate voted 84–12 (4 not voting) to confirm Yates as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the second-highest-ranking position in the Justice Department;[17][18] during her confirmation hearing, when questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions if she would disobey a president’s unlawful orders, she responded that she would have an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give independent legal advice to the president.[19] She served under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who took office shortly before Yates’s confirmation.[11][20]

    As Deputy Attorney General, Yates was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department, which included approximately 113,000 employees. In 2015, she authored the policy, known as the “Yates memo”, prioritizing the prosecution of executives for corporate crimes.[21][22] During the final days of the Obama administration, she oversaw the review of 16,000 petitions for executive clemency, making recommendations to the President.[23]…..
    Yates is a Democrat.[78] At the Department of Justice, she served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, as a career civil servant.[78] She was hired by Republican Bob Barr for her first DOJ position.[78] When appointed deputy attorney general in 2014, Yates was described as well-regarded and non-political; her appointment was praised by Georgia’s two senators, both Republicans.[79] After leaving the Justice Department, Democrats in Georgia sought to draft Yates as a candidate for governor in 2018;[80] she declined to run.[81]”

    1. “Incorrectly labeling Yates’s decision on the Muslim ban as being “politically brilliant”, Turley denigrates an obvious act of principle”

      Ridiculous. Principle in that case meant resignation not enhancing her political future. She was unethical.

  10. JT glosses over the fact that the original Muslim ban was clearly illegal. It took them three tries to come up with something that they could sell the the SC. Yates, as AG, takes an oath to protect the Constitution, not Trump. Blocking it was correct

      1. “Indeed Molly, Yates is a hero”

        She is only a hero to those without any understanding of morality and ethics. If she were heroic she would have resigned. What she did was to try and enhance her value to a particular political group. She sold her reputation.

  11. Yates was strategically placed as the top law enforcement officer in the country to establish the feeling among the resistance that it was morally and legally right to thwart the Trump administration’s agenda. Yates and the resistance are the epitome of domestic enemies.

    1. Olly, that’s false:

      “In January 2017, according to a Justice Department spokesman, Yates accepted a request from the incoming Trump administration to be acting Attorney General, beginning on January 20, 2017, and until the successor for Attorney General Lynch would be confirmed by the Senate.[24]”


      1. Doesn’t make it false. Executive branch resistance, even early on within Trump’s own administration has been a plague on this country.

        1. Really? So it was the resistance to illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional orders that are the problem, and not the illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional orders themselves?.

          1. Molly the checks and balances of the President are Congress and the judiciary. You should learn more before speaking. Yates only ethical option, if she couldn’t convince the president her views were correct, was to resign. She took the path of self-enrichment. She was looking out for herself, not the country or the Constitution.

          2. You might fancy anything this President does as illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional, but fortunately there are people that are not governed by their emotions. Although poorly written, the OLC said the order was legal. If Yates was serving her country honorably, she would have informed the President of her objections to the order and if he rejected her objections, she should honorably resign. But instead she chose the dishonorable course. She instructed the DOJ to obstruct the EO and thus paved the way for rampant insubordination within the Executive branch. Eventually, SCOTUS ruled the (amended) order to be constitutional.

  12. First. Yate’s part in Obama’s and Biden’s coup attempt against Trump must be investigated and many potential appointments could be to people who should be serving time in Leavenworth.

    Let’s not get the cart before the horse but it is satisfying to have Biden expose the stinking underbelly of the forces that pushed him to this quasi-win.

  13. YATES is and was part of the resistance set up by Obama. She is and was a Never Trumper and part of the crowd seeking to overturn the 2016 election. She is a Bad choice along with others being tossed around.

    1. She was a Democrat in high office, of course she was a Never Trumper and was going to resist illegal orders.

  14. To “conservatives” uniting the country means that we all have to get on board for their policies and lack of respect for the Constitution. Bide should appoint a competent AG. who recognizes that his or her loyalty is to the CONSTITUTION. THAT PERSON MUST BE THE OPPOSITE IN ALL RESPECTS OF BARR.

  15. Great points.

    When Trump was elected, many Dems went into opposition.

    Some of them crossed the line into purile behavior.

    As did some Repubs.

    That this behavior seemed to further their careers was just an added benefit.

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