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Home America Trump fires Justice Dept. head over executive order defiance

Trump fires Justice Dept. head over executive order defiance

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By JULIE PACE and ERIC TUCKER

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday fired Sally Yates, the acting attorney general and a Democratic appointee, after she refused to defend in court his controversial refugee and immigration ban.

The extraordinary public clash over Trump’s most consequential policy decision to date laid bare the discord and dissent surrounding the executive order, which temporarily halted the entire U.S. refugee program and banned all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.

The firing came hours after Yates directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend the executive order, saying she was not convinced it was lawful or consistent with the agency’s “obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

In a statement, Trump said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” He named longtime federal prosecutor Dana Boente as Yates’ replacement.

Yates’ abrupt decision reflected the dissent over the order, with administration officials moving to distance themselves from the policy. As protests erupted at airports over the weekend and confusion disrupted travel around the globe, some of Trump’s top advisers and fellow Republicans privately noted they were not consulted about the policy.

At least three top national security officials — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it. Leading intelligence officials were also left largely in the dark, according to U.S. officials.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said that despite White House assurances that congressional leaders were consulted, he learned about the order in the media.

Other parts of Trump’s administration were voicing dissent Monday. A large group of American diplomats circulated a memo voicing their opposition to the order, which temporarily halted the entire U.S. refugee program and banned all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days. In a startlingly combative response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer challenged those opposed to the measure to resign.

“They should either get with the program or they can go,” Spicer said.

The blowback underscored Trump’s tenuous relationship with his own national security advisers, many of whom he met for the first time during the transition, as well as with the government bureaucracy he now leads. While Trump outlined his plan for temporarily halting entry to the U.S. from countries with terror ties during the campaign, the confusing way in which it finally was crafted stunned some who have joined his team.

Mattis, who stood next to Trump during Friday’s signing ceremony, is said to be particularly incensed. A senior U.S. official said Mattis, along with Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, was aware of the general concept of Trump’s order but not the details. Tillerson has told the president’s political advisers that he was baffled over not being consulted on the substance of the order.

U.S. officials and others with knowledge of the Cabinet’s thinking insisted on anonymity in order to disclose the officials’ private views.

Trump’s order pauses America’s entire refugee program for four months and indefinitely bans all those from war-ravaged Syria. Federal judges in New York and several other states issued orders that temporarily block the government from deporting people with valid visas who arrived after Trump’s travel ban took effect.

The president has privately acknowledged flaws in the rollout, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. But he’s also blamed the media — his frequent target — for what he believes are reports exaggerating the dissent and the number of people actually affected.

Trump has also said he believes the voters who carried him to victory support the plan as a necessary step to safeguard the nation. And he’s dismissed objectors as attention-seeking rabble-rousers and grandstanding politicians.

After a chaotic weekend during which some U.S. legal permanent residents were detained at airports, some agencies were moving swiftly to try to clean up after the White House.

Homeland Security, the agency tasked with implementing much of the refugee ban, clarified that customs and border agents should allow legal residents to enter the country. The Pentagon was trying to exempt Iraqis who worked alongside the U.S. and coalition forces from the 90-day ban on entry from the predominantly Muslim countries.

“There are a number of people in Iraq who have worked for us in a partnership role, whether fighting alongside us or working as translators, often doing so at great peril to themselves,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Policies with such broad reach are typically vetted by affected agencies and subject to review by multiple agencies. It’s a process that can be frustratingly slow but is aimed at avoiding unintended consequences.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers in Trump’s party sought to distance themselves from the wide-ranging order.

While Spicer said “appropriate committees and leadership offices” on Capitol Hill were consulted, GOP lawmakers said their offices had no hand in drafting the order and no briefings from the White House on how it would work.

“I think they know that it could have been done in a better way,” Corker said of the White House.

Some Trump supporters defended the president, saying his actions should not have come as a surprise given his positions during the campaign.

“Nothing he did over the weekend was new,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and an informal adviser. He conceded that coordination could have been better, but he said Trump’s vow to quickly bring change to Washington will sometimes mean he needs to prioritize fast action over broad consultation.

“If you’re the reformer, you need the momentum,” Gingrich said.

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AP writers Matthew Lee, Lolita C. Baldor, Erica Werner, Jonathan Lemire and Vivian Salama contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

Comments From Facebook

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Marc Solorzano: good BYE
Posted ON : 01/31/2017
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Michele Cloutier: She has honor and defended the Constitution!
Posted ON : 01/31/2017
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Victor Bernard: The B had to go
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Jeff Miraglia: ... If you don't do what your boss tells you to do ... You get fired ... Right ???
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Igor Vlasoff: Good riddance!
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Mark Smith: More is yet to come this is just the beginning.
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Manuel Antiono Fernandez: Her job is represent. The government it was a legal order every one else agree with it she should step down or get fired
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Lauro Guevarra: Obama's appointee it's but natural to replace her
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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William Wood: Qualifies for unemployment.
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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William Wood: WeekDay 9 to 5 warriors.
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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William Wood: With this time off she should prepare herself for liability of inaction during last 8 years.
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Livi Tauiliili: That was old news. Anything else new?
Posted ON : 02/01/2017
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Betty Jenson: Liberals idiot
Posted ON : 02/02/2017
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Jeffrey Tong: Hey, this looks eerily like "The Apprentice!"
Posted ON : 02/02/2017
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Jeffrey Tong:
Posted ON : 02/02/2017
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Marco Nunziati: Unlike Obama he never fired anybody....with all the scandals in is administration .....only 5th amendments .....
Posted ON : 02/02/2017
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William Wood: Not fired just given some time off.....for 8 years.
Posted ON : 02/03/2017
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Victor Pizarro III: Didn't anyone watch his show? Thats what he does.
Posted ON : 02/03/2017
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Sonny Bliss: Bye
Posted ON : 02/03/2017
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Juanr Robledo: Seven nation of Muslims and they don't have a place to live,what do mean they can't live in their nation,wake America they're playing us.
Posted ON : 02/04/2017
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Henry Duncan: Clean the swamp
Posted ON : 02/04/2017
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Carol Bowker: Her job was to uphold the constitution Not the president. She did her job accordingly, and well. Trump & his corporate cronies now share the swamp with the Republicans, all selling our rights & any remaining ethics down what has been a clean river, now that they've overturned the Clean Stream Protection law & tonight done away with some of the ethics statutes.
Posted ON : 02/04/2017
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Josue Ruben Velazquez: Carol Bowker You realize Obama did the same thing and we had a Constitution at that time also???
If those that are standing up now against the President are doing an honorable thing, why now? Where were these government officials when Obama was issuing executive orders that banned people from coming here?
I honestly believed Obama had an opportunity to make a big difference. Obama spoke well and knew how to communicate in a way that allowed people to feel at ease. When he spoke, he exercised a type of control as to not to try and offend anyone. People liked that because they like to be massaged. Not a bad approach at all, if you ask me. However, what he actually executed was along the same line as what's happening now. My point is simple...
We now have a President that says what he does and is doing what he said. It's really all about a bunch of snowflakes missing their little massage session.
Typical liberal hypocrisy.
I for one will remember all of this in four years. If a Demoncrap is elected President, I will be organizing a group of people that will spend their days protesting, rioting,marching, burning, abusing, hurting people. We will shut down college campuses, block traffic on the Streets, burn the Gay Pride flag and shut down the liberal media.
Oh wait, I have a family that depends on me and we don't get government hand outs. I have to work for a living....
You liberals keep this up and the same giant that crushed your little emotions will rise again and put you away for good in an insane asylum.
Posted ON : 02/04/2017
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Rufus Lassiter: Drain the Swamp !!!
Posted ON : 02/04/2017
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James W. Houston: Carol Bowker.! You make me sick.! You're a liberal nut job.! Bernie Sanders can just go away and stay there
Posted ON : 02/04/2017