Cornyn, Cruz Challenge Yates on Travel Order

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, May 8, 2017, while testifying before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing: "Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Bill O’Neil

She was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee to talk about Russian influence on the November Presidential Election.

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates also got an earful from Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz about her refusal to carry out President Donald Trump’s first executive order on travel–which ultimately got her fired.

“Is it true that the Office of Legal Counsel did conclude that it (the Executive Order barring travelers from several countries with terrorism concerns from entering the United States) was legal on its face and properly drafted?” Cornyn asked Yates, who responded “Yes they did.”

Cornyn then wasted no time in making his point.

“And you overruled them” Cornyn said. Yates reply” Yes I did.”

“I looked at this. I made a determination that I believed that it was unlawful” Yates said.

A short time later, Senator Cruz picked up where Cornyn left off and asked a number of questions of his own.

“Does the Attorney General have the authority to direct the Department of Justice to defy the President’s order?” Cruz asked.

“I don’t know whether the Attorney General has the authority to do that or not–but I don’t think that would be a good idea” Yates said, adding “That’s not what I did in this case.”


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