Attorney General Sally Yates was fired on Monday by President Donald Trump for refusing to enforce his immigration ban. Now, in light of that refusal, this clip of Yates' 2015 confirmation hearing is going viral, because it features her answering a question from none other than Jeff Sessions about what she'd do if she disagreed with a president's orders.
Here's a partial transcript of Sally Yates, who was appointed by President Obama, of the relevant part of the video:
Jeff Sessions: You have to watch out, because people will be asking you do to things you just need to say no about. Do you think the attorney general has the responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that's improper?
A lot of people have defended the [Loretta] Lynch nomination, for example, by saying: 'Well, he appoints somebody who's going to execute his views. What's wrong with that?' But if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?”
Sally Yates: Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president.
JS: Well, that's true. And like any CEO, with a law firm — sometimes the lawyers have to tell the CEO: 'Mr. CEO, you can't do that. Don't do that. We'll get us sued. It's going to be in violation of the law. You'll regret it, please.' No matter how headstrong they might be. Do you feel like that's the duty on [sic] the attorney general's office?
SY: I do believe that that's the duty of the attorney general's office, to fairly and impartially evaluate the law and to provide the president and the administration with impartial legal advice.
In a letter to the justice department lawyers, Yates wrote:
I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.
So Yates stood up for what she believed in, and as a result, lost her job. My guess is that Trump is going to get a lot of use while in office from his Apprentice catchphrase: "You're fired!"