From the time that President Trump took office, the Justice Department has been in the headlines. The President has taken several measures to rectify the corruption within its ranks, and not everyone appreciated it. One of those measures was to clear out several of the Obama Administration officials that could have potentially stayed after the administration change.
One of those officials was Sally Yates, who worked directly under Loretta Lynch. The bad blood between the two is continuing, apparently, since Yates is still backtalking the Commander-in-Chief, even after being fired rather abruptly.
This was the exchange that had the Twitterverse whispering and asking questions. President Trump said, “So sad that the Department of “Justice” and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documents requested by Congress. An embarrassment to our country!” No doubt that was partly in response to the many injustices that have been brought to light with the extra investigations that Democrats insisted on.
Yates, a former part of the Deep State Justice Department, was obviously triggered by what Trump tweeted as she replied with, “For 27 years, I was privileged to work with the thousands of career DOJ lawyers and FBI agents who work hard every day to keep our country safe, our rights protected, and the rule of law intact. They deserve better than this.”
So sad that the Department of “Justice” and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documents requested by Congress. An embarrassment to our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
For 27 years, I was privileged to work with the thousands of career DOJ lawyers and FBI agents who work hard every day to keep our country safe, our rights protected, and the rule of law intact. They deserve better than this. https://t.co/PORoGaCm5n
— Sally Yates (@SallyQYates) April 2, 2018
As you can probably tell from the exchange, this isn’t the first time that the President and Yates have had a disagreement about something. Yates was one of the very first firings that the President did after he came into office. At the time, there was, of course, an outcry that he did so in order to cover something up.
However, even Politico admits in a piece called “Why Trump Had to Fire Sally Yates” that what Yates did was just too much insubordination. According to Josh Blackman who is the author and a constitutional law professor, “The acting attorney general should have given the president her best advice, then resigned if he didn’t listen.” But that’s not what she did.
Here’s a little backstory by Blackman about what did go down the night that Yates got the ax:
“Democrats are calling it the Monday Night Massacre. On Monday evening, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced that under her leadership, the Justice Department would not defend President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. After acknowledging that the Office of Legal Counsel had reviewed the policy, and noting that the Civil Division could defend it in court, she personally rebuffed the president’s judgment, which she did not find ‘wise or just.’ Yates, a career prosecutor appointed by Barack Obama, is now being hailed for standing up to a supposedly ‘tyrannical’ president, according to a statement blasted out by the Democratic National Committee.
But this has it wrong. If Yates truly felt this way, she should have told the president her conclusions in confidence. If he disagreed, she had one option: resign. Instead, she made herself a political martyr and refused to comply. Trump obliged, and replaced her with the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente. While this late-night termination may bring to mind President Richard Nixon’s infamous ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ the analogy is inapt. This is a textbook case of insubordination, and the president was well within his constitutional powers to fire her. Call it the Monday Night Layoff instead.
While I defend Trump’s constitutional authority to remove the acting attorney general, his message accompanying the termination warrants a careful study. Announcing her firing, the president wrote that Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order.” Charges of betrayal will only serve to chill voices of dissent within the Justice Department, and limit internal checks on the White House. Though Yates erred egregiously by making her opinion public, rather than resigning, others within the executive branch should feel free to raise constitutional doubts to the White House. However, if those in the minority sense that they will be deemed traitors, the voices of reason within the government will be silenced for fear of persecution. I worry that Yates’s foolish last stand will poison the well of President Trump’s already-low estimation of lawyers that tell him ‘no.’ Her selfish act of painless self-flagellation—which will no doubt be rewarded by a lifetime of adulation from the left—will in the long run be counterproductive, and unfortunately inhibit dissent within an already skittish agency. Yates’s plan backfired, big league.”
Yates not only made the road even harder for her own cause (which conservatives no doubt thank her for) but she set herself up to be made an example of. She fell prey to the same thing that many Washington insiders have fallen for; and that is the idea that President Trump won’t take harsh, decisive action against someone. While he is a politician, he doesn’t play politics the way many expected.
President Trump’s already deep seeded doubt about lawyers, due to his extensive history with them, has also been made worse by Yates, and others like her, attempting to manipulate the country with their antics. For now, though, President Trump is still calling the shots, and attorneys like Yates and Lynch are relegated to the peanut gallery.
Do you think the President should have fired Yates? Let us know in the comments!