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Who is Sally Yates? Republicans Called Her ‘Hero’ Before She Defied Trump’s Order


In a dramatic turn of events, the acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, was fired by President Donald Trump after she announced that she would refuse to allow her attorneys to present arguments in defense of Trump’s “extreme vetting” Executive Order. The Trump order temporarily bans all refugees from entering the United States, and restricts people from 7 majority Muslim countries from coming into the country. But Yates was not always a villain in Republican circles.

Before this showdown, Yates was actually asked by the Trump Administration to stay on duty until Senator Jeff Sessions could be confirmed by the Senate. In fact, Yates has held leadership positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations throughout her career. During her confirmation hearing, one Republican Senator even called her a “hero” with “impeccable integrity.”

In fact, Sen. Jeff Sessions (who happens to be Trump’s AG nominee) asked Yates during the hearing if she would feel empowered to say “no” to the president if he asks for “something improper?”

“If the views that the attorney general are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say ‘no,”‘ Sessions asked.

“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,” Yates replied.

WATCH Sally Yates Senate Confirmation from March 24, 2015

So who is Sally Yates?

After being nominated by President Barack Obama, Yates was confirmed by the Senate (84 to 12) as Deputy Attorney General of the United States in March 2015.  During her confirmation hearing, she drew praise from several Republican Senators and Democrats.

Sen. Johnny Isaakson (R-Georgia) said, in part:

“Sally is a great hero of the state of Georgia for 25 years she’s been in the office of Northern District of Georgia prosecuting criminal on public integrity all kind of things like the Olympic Park bombing. For the last five years, she’s been the chief attorney, and she’s proved herself over and over and over again to be to be effective to be fair to  be diligent and to be the kind of person that you would want representing you in the U.S. Attorney’s office.. She is a lady of impeccable taste, impeccable integrity and an impeccable record, and I’m proud to second her nomination..”

Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) said, in part:

For years, she has prosecuted the most violate criminal organizations in Georgia, MS-13, and other notorious gangs, drug cartels, human smuggling, sex traffickers. The people in Georgia were fortunate to have benefited from Ms .Yates’s work in the service of justice for so many years.

Prior to that appointment, she spent 25 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta. She last served as U.S. Attorney. During her time there, she prosecuted a wide variety of cases, but specialized in those involving public corruption.  She prosecuted, Eric Rudolph, known as the Olympic Park Bomber who was found guilty for numerous state and federal murder charges. In a case that drew national headlines, she prosecuted 13 people, including 9 police officers, who were allegedly part of a massive operation in which the cops received payments to provide protection for drug dealers. Much of the action was caught by FBI officers during an undercover sting.  

She attended the University of Georgia School of Law, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is a breaking story, we will update this profile as we learn more information. 





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Rachel Stockman is President of Law&Crime which includes Law&Crime Productions, Law&Crime Network and Under her watch, the company has grown from just a handful of people to a robust production company and network producing dozens of true crime shows a year in partnership with major networks. She also currently serves as Executive Producer of Court Cam, a hit show on A&E, and I Survived a Crime, a new crime show premiering on A&E this fall. She also oversees production of a new daily syndicated show Law&Crime Daily, which is produced in conjunction with Litton Entertainment. In addition to these shows, her network and production company produce programs for Facebook Watch, Cineflix and others. She has spent years covering courts and legal issues, and was named Atlanta Press Club's 'Rising Star' in 2014. Rachel graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Yale Law School.