Opinion: Yes, you CAN mess with Texas, if you’re Sally Yates

(AP)

Over two decades as a career federal prosecutor here in her hometown of Atlanta, Sally Yates built a reputation as a smart, fearless and nonpartisan public servant, someone who followed wherever the law and the truth would take her, but no further.

Then, a couple of years ago, she got lured away into the political cesspool that is Washington, D.C., where few emerge with their reputations intact.

No worries, though. Homegirl did good. Real good.

In late January, when President Trump issued the first of his two attempted travel bans against citizens of seven Muslim countries, Yates was serving as acting U.S. attorney general. In that job, it would have been her duty to attempt to defend the legality and constitutionality of that executive order, but after reading the order and consulting colleagues, Yates refused to do so. Defending it as constitutional would have required Yates to argue that it was not motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, and as Yates knew, that simply wasn’t the truth.

Trump then fired her, as is his right as president. Since then, a series of federal judges has echoed Yates’ interpretation of the law and Constitution. The administration was forced to withdraw that first order, in effect proving that Yates had been right, and so far even Trump’s second order isn’t faring any better in the courts.

As deputy and later acting attorney general, Yates was also involved in the investigation into Russia’s direct meddling into the 2016 elections and into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s ties to Russia. It seems like ancient history in the wake of the Comey fiasco, but it was only Monday that Yates was invited back to Washington to testify about l’affaire Flynn before a Senate subcommittee.

Not surprisingly, several Republican senators tried to find safer political ground by grilling Yates on the travel ban instead of Flynn. It didn’t work out so well for them.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas launched the first attack, demanding to know why she had made that decision. Yates replied calmly, clearly well-prepared. She recalled her testimony before Cornyn and the Senate Judiciary Committee just two years earlier, when she was being confirmed as deputy attorney general:

“You specifically asked me in that hearing that if the president asked me to do something that was unlawful or unconstitutional … or even just that would reflect poorly on the Department of Justice, would I say no?” Yates said. “… That’s what I promised you I would do and that’s what I did.”

Boom.

A few minutes later the junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, stepped up to bat. The former Supreme Court clerk and self-styled defender of religious freedom cited a federal law that in his opinion gave Trump clear power to issue such a ban. He then demanded to know why Yates had refused to abide by the president’s order.

Yates, again prepared, quickly cited federal statutes to rebut Cruz. However, she made it clear that her true concerns had been deeper and more profound.

“In this particular instance, particularly where we were talking about a fundamental issue of religious freedom — not the interpretation of some arcane statute, but religious 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,” she “woman-explained.”

That’s exactly right. As recently as Monday, the Trump campaign site still featured his promise to ban immigration by all Muslims. He told us over and over where he was coming from with that call, in no uncertain terms, and that can’t be ignored.

As Yates explained to Cornyn, “all arguments have to be based on truth, because we’re the Department of Justice.”


NOTE: In case you’re wondering, this was scheduled for blog publication earlier this week but got superseded by President Trump.

Reader Comments 0

1247 comments
Karl Edward
Karl Edward

Liberals are such whiny delusional idiots and vacuous sheep!

Tim Hotle
Tim Hotle

Jay Bookman is a partisan hack.

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Bookman did you watch the exchange with Senator Cruz? She didn't even know the order she defied! SCOTUS will certainly uphold Trump's orders because as you rightfully stated in your tripe about firing Sally. He had that right. The dellsional​ and irrational behavior is becoming comedy gold to us normal informed Americans. Please keep it coming. The prospects of getting to 60 in 18' is looking better by the day.

David Thead
David Thead

She ate Cruz for lunch. What were you watching?

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

I watched the entire exchange. Obviously you didn't. Or perhaps you didn't understand​ what was being said. She argued that non-citizens have constitutional rights! That's not just untrue. It's insane! She didn't even know what order she wasn't enforcing!

David Thead
David Thead

Joe Fincher...turn the Faux news off and switch to CSPAN. I watched the hearing in it's entirety. 1. Cruz started asking questions that had NOTHING to do with the reason for the hearing. 2. Cruz thinks that the immigration and nationality act carries as much weight as the constitution. 3. Cruz didn't even know the entirety of the law he was citing actually didn't work to his favor. Joe Fincher... you are literally the ONLY person that saw the exchange and thought Cruz got the better of it.

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Again David Thead you're dellsional. I watched it numerous times and Senator Cruz had actual facts to back up his questions. She used liberal talking​ points that were simply not based in reality. Again non-citizens don't have constitutional rights! That's a fact. In the twisted mind of a liberal their thought process is that a refuge in Somalia has as much constitutional rights as a person in Atlanta. Insane! And again she didn't even know the statute she wasn't defending. That in itself was hilarious and showed just how little she actually knows about the process. A prime example of how silly this woman looked is how how little the anti-American media talked about it. Very little because she didn't really help the cause that liberals want in allowing terrorists to come into the country disguised as refugees. SCOTUS will surely uphold the president's EO because it clearly states he has that right. Not some obscure judge. And certainly not the anti-American far-left!

Dwight Riddle
Dwight Riddle

Thank you Joe Fincher for trying to reason with liberals, you do a good job but facts no longer have a place in discussion with liberals.

David Thead
David Thead

Joe Fincher... I'm going to post the video for it. You must've seen an edited version or something. Again, Cruz was embarrassed. 1. He didn't know why he was there or what the topic actually was. 2. He tried to cite a clause from the INA to back up his cause, but cherry picked and didn't read the whole thing. He was called out on it. In addition to giving the president the power to restrict alien immigration, the SAME clause Cruz cited also imcludes this...."the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states, “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” So I'm not sure how you came to your conclusions. 3. Furthermore, Yates explained that this wasn't even the basis for her reasoning. Her concern was that the law was unconstitutional in and of itself. Not that aliens have constitutional rights, but rather that the law/eo/directive went against the foundation of our constitution and American values. 4. Not sure what news outlets you follow, but EVERYWHERE reported on how Yates demolished teddy boy. Some even called for her to push into elected politics after the exchange. Even CSPAN referred to how she, I believe the word was "crushed" Cruz. 5."Allowing terrorists to come in disguised as refugees?" At some point, you have to start living in reality. This just isn't happening in America. If it is, give me an example. I'm much more worried about the terrorists being bread in the church pews of America than I am of those disguising themselves as refugees. AND the statistics aka THE FACTS support that viewpoint. 6. The assertion that SCOTUS will overturn the lower courts ruling is laughable. I doubt it ever makes it that far, and the ONLY reason you could feel so certain on that viewpoint is the conservative tilt that has now been put on the courts. I believe humanity will win though. Also, a funny viewpoint considering any court it has made it to thus far has struck it down. Also very funny when judges they were unanimously confirmed all of a sudden become "obscure judges". Talk about Faux news talking points! 😂😂😂 lmmfao. Then again it came from the cheeto Jesus' twitter...so it MUST be true. WOW.

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Thanks for the link but like I said I've watched it numerous times. Again reading liberal talking points not based on fact is totally and completely disingenuous. But it does prove a great point how uninformed and out of touch with reality many on the far-left are to just sit there like clapping seals absorbing the deceit and deception as if its fact. You still haven't answered my question. Are foriegn refugees afforded the same rights as American citizens under the Constitution? If you truly watched and understood her testimony that was her whole argument.

David Thead
David Thead

Joe Fincher... you never asked me that, but I'll answer it. Answer me this... what was Cruz doing asking about the travel ban when the hearing was on russian interference? No, refugees are not entitled to constitutional rights, only citizens. However, that is not what Yates argued. She argued that a law, regardless of who it affects, that violates the establishment clause of the constitution is, in and of itself, an unconstitutional law. She NEVER argued that refugees have constitutional rights. She argued that laws can't blatantly violate the establishment clause of the constitution. I'm interested to know what "liberal talking points, not based on fact" you're referring to. As far as I can tell, everything she said and I've said is accurate and factual. Also, what is it that you think gives the president power to even do this?

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

David Thread you again fail to understand her argument although you used in in your own answer. You stated that refugees are not entitled to the same rights under the constitution as US citizens yet in the same paragraph said they are. LOL! But just for kicks can you find anywhere in the executive order where it singles out muslims? Of course you can't! Which makes her argument and obviously yours moot. It says nowhere in the Order that muslims are banned because they are muslims or even identifies any particular religion or faith for that matter! Nor does the text of the order violate the Constitution except in the opinion of liberals. As for why she was there. It was to answer for her failure as acting AG. Not just what she knew and when she knew it about this made-up Trump-Russia collusion nonsense!. Honestly she gave us nothing new on that front that would implicate anyone. If she would've like I stated in a previous post it would have been a huge news story. Consider the headlines before her testimony where numerous news outlets were touting how we'll see bombshells about the Trump administration. Of course nothing became of those accusations just like the many other fake news stories that will eventually die. Honestly most Americans would find it refreshing to see Senator Cruz do his job unlike the patty cake games dems play when someone is one the hot seat. As far as the liberal talking points she parroted the same one's we've heard for months from every single democrat. They could honestly care less about protecting the American people and would rather us look more like France with almost daily terror attacks than for the President to his job keeping us safe. As for the reason why he has the authority. I'll provide a link. Perhaps you can understand... Like I said SCOTUS will get to the bottom of this instead of a single far-left unelected judge who shouldn't have any say-so in protecting the American people. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1182

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

Lol, a nobody that gave no new info. Quickly slide away into oblivion

Duel Mitchell
Duel Mitchell

non partisan what a joke white obama want to be .

Nana Y. Boachie
Nana Y. Boachie

A woman after my own heart. You qualify to run this country.

Lela Grace Flanery
Lela Grace Flanery

According to the psychos that voted for Bigly a lot of people qualify.

Nick Clifton
Nick Clifton

Let Mexico have it back, and we will throw in Florida for the hell of it. Lol

justaniceguy
justaniceguy

"Flynn was fired for not being loyal" must be the new Faux Nooz line...

ByteMe
ByteMe

@justaniceguy they just got done watching the Godfather trilogy for the 20th time in a row...

Manman
Manman

Ummm Texas might think they're the best place on Earth but Sally Yates is Georgian born and bred and any Georgian worth their brain knows Texas ain't all that thank you very much

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Manman I always thought we were at least better than Alabama.

TBS
TBS

Someone sure is paranoid

td1234
td1234

Why was Flynn fired from the Obama administration? Oh that is right, he was fired for publically disagreeing with the President's decisions. In other words for not being loyal to the President. Not a peep from the same people that are melting down over Trump wanting loyalty. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Has the reality of the fact that Trump, personally, is not under FBI investigation sank in?  I know that reality can be harsh and hard to come to grips with...

Paul42
Paul42

@DownInAlbany  Upon what facts do you state that ill-informed opinion?

As far as I understand, the Trump campaign is being investigated.  That includes people associated with him.  No basis for saying it excludes him.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

@DownInAlbany So you believe every word that comes out of that buffoon's mouth?

Nixon did not do the dirty deeds either  but was complicit. 

Too complicated for simple minds of the Cons.

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs @DownInAlbany Yea, the word of Senator Chuck Grassley read into the public record yesterday when he stated that he and Sen Dianne Feinstein both heard the FBI director say Trump was not under investigation. Note: Feinstein agreed with the statement.


Next.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@fktrump @DownInAlbany  Feinstein is a buffoon?  (I have no idea why I would expect logical thoughts to come out of you...given your blog name....real cute, by the way)

It's the Economy Stupid
It's the Economy Stupid

@DownInAlbany Are sure you understanding what the word "quoting" means? It means placing the actual words (in context and with your source) between two of these things: "


Regardless, you're allowing Trump to distract you with semantics: Various FBI officials have confirmed publicly on numerous occasions that allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign are being investigated. Whether that eventually leads to Trump himself is a matter to be determined.


We do know, however, that there have been enough odd and secretive connections between Russian officials and people close to Donald Trump to be of concern to responsible patriots in both parties. And we know that anyone who isn't concerned isn't simply putting the interests of Trump and a few Republican politicians ahead of the interests of our nation.