During testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates revealed that she warned Trump administration officials three times about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The hearing today involved Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election so of course, Ted Cruz grilled Yates about her thoughts on Trump’s attempt to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. That, of course, makes no sense but Cruz was trying to defend the man who previously insulted his wife’s looks during the campaign.
Yates was fired as acting AG after refusing to defend Trump’s executive order, which she said violated the U.S. Constitution’s religious protections.
Cruz told Yates that the Office of Legal Counsel had issued a determination that the executive order was legal, but Yates countered that finding by saying it ignored the First Amendment in favor of an obscure statute which had since been updated.
“In this particular instance, particularly where we were talking about a fundamental issue of religious freedom, not the interpretation of some arcane statute, but religion freedom, it was appropriate for us to look at the intent behind the president’s actions and the intent is laid out in his statements,” Yates said.
Yates said she did not believe Trump’s executive order was “lawful” and used “religious freedom” to defend herself from Cruz’s attack on her.
When Cruz quoted part of the Constitution, Yates came back at him with a statute which she said “Trumps the first one you described.”
“In the over 200 years of the Department of Justice history, are you aware of any instance in which the Department of Justice has formally approved the legality of a policy and three days later the attorney general has directed the department not to follow that policy and to defy that policy?” Cruz asked.
“I’m not, but I’m also not aware of a situation where the Office of Legal Counsel was advised not to tell the attorney general about it until after it was over,” Yates replied.
Rep. John Cornyn, too, brought up the Executive Order to Yates and that didn’t go down well either. Yates brought up ‘intent’ again in regards to Trump’s Muslim ban. In fact, just this morning after White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked by ABC’s Cecilia Varga about the alleged president’s website literally having the words “preventing Muslim immigration” written on it, it was scrubbed.
So now we’re back to the ‘intent’ behind Trump’s executive order again.
One does not simply delete something from the Internet, though.
Moments after Spicer was asked about this Trump campaign page calling for a Muslim ban, it went blank. But Wayback Machine still has it pic.twitter.com/OAQnVNwpdi
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) May 8, 2017
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing oral arguments Monday for Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban, which called for a 120-day halt on all refugee resettlement and a 90-day pause on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S. The previous order sought to halt immigrants from entering the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
We need a clean up on aisle three. Sally Yates just wiped the floor with Ted Cruz.
Image via screen capture