Sally Yates: Trump is 'tearing down the legitimacy' of Justice Department
© Greg Nash

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesA question of privilege: How Trump could still gut the Mueller report From border to Mueller, Barr faces challenges as attorney general Hillicon Valley: House Intel panel will release Russia interviews | T-Mobile, Sprint step up merger push | DHS cyber office hosting webinars on China | Nest warns customers to shore up password security MORE said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE’s attacks on the Department of Justice are “tearing down the legitimacy” of the agency.

Yates, whom Trump fired last year after she refused to defend his travel ban on refugees from several Muslim-majority countries, warned that the president’s attacks on top Justice Department officials like Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report 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.

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“There is a time-honored tradition at the Department of Justice, at least since Watergate, that is nonpartisan,” Yates said, according to Yahoo News. “There is a wall between the Department of Justice and the White House when it comes to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

She added that Trump has been targeting the agency so frequently that “nobody’s rolling their eyes anymore.”

“It used to be a big news story that would say, ‘In an unprecedented step, Trump said this,’” Yates said. “Now it doesn’t even make it through the full 24-hour news cycle because it happens so frequently.”

Trump, whose targets at the Justice Department include former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHarry Reid slams Comey for Russia election meddling If Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report MORE and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Graham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks MORE, threatened last month to intervene at the department.

"Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on, with people in the Justice Department that shouldn't be there — they have a witch hunt against the president of the United States going on," Trump said during an interview on "Fox & Friends."

"You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI — it's a disgrace," he added. "And our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won't."

Trump has also repeatedly attacked Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including possible collusion between the president's campaign and Moscow, as a "witch hunt" and has called for it to end.