Sally Yates: Trump's demand for FBI investigation is ‘a step beyond dangerous’
© Greg Nash

Former acting Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesTime for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation New Yorker disinvites Bannon from festival following backlash White House confirms Brennan's security clearance has been revoked MORE said in a new interview that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE has taken his “assault on the rule of law to a new level” by calling for the Department of Justice to investigate whether it or the FBI planted an informant in his presidential campaign for political reasons. 

"This has really taken the assault on the rule of law to a new level," Yates, whom Trump fired last year after she refused to defend his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries, said during an appearance on CNN’s "The Axe Files" that's scheduled to air Saturday.

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"Really from the beginning of his presidency, President Trump has not observed the time-honored norm that's been in place at least since Watergate that there should be a real division between the Department of Justice and the White House," Yates continued. 

The president took to Twitter on Sunday to tell the Justice Department to investigate whether the FBI surveilled his campaign for "inappropriate purposes.”  

Yates called Trump’s inquiry “truly unprecedented,” adding that the move is a step “beyond a dangerous point because it's not just directing a criminal investigation or to stop one but anyone, it directly relates to his campaign.”

Though Yates declined to comment specifically on alleged surveillance abuses in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign or on the investigation, she said she was confident the investigation would uncover the truth. 

"I was with DOJ for 27 years, and I can tell you that the men and women of the Department of Justice take the responsibility very seriously," Yates said. "Investigations there are done based on the facts and the law and not based on politics. And I'm confident that that will be the result of this investigation as well." 

Yates has spoken out against the president's attacks on the Justice Department in the past. 

Earlier this month, Yates said Trump was "tearing down the legitimacy” of the agency, warning that his attacks on top officials like Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Faith communities are mobilizing against Trump’s family separation policy Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lands book deal MORE and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE are “not normal,” but are becoming normalized.