By Mark Engstrom, J.D.
Last night, President Donald Trump dismissed Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as Acting Attorney General while the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions remains pending, the White House announced.
Yates, who served as United States Deputy Attorney General under President Barack Obama, became Acting Attorney General when President Trump took office. Yesterday, however, she issued a memorandum to Justice Department attorneys and prohibited them from defending an executive order that temporarily banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. "The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States," the White House stated. "It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country."
Boente quickly rescinded the guidance that Yates had issued and ordered the Department of Justice to defend the lawful orders of the President.
In other Department news, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder became the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice effective January 20, 2017. Snyder was a Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section and in its San Francisco Office from 2003 until 2013. He became Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement in 2013.
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