Yates: No advance notice travel ban would be enacted

Yates: No advance notice travel ban would be enacted
© Greg Nash

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates says she wasn't given advance notice that President Trump's first travel ban would be enacted.

Yates found out about Trump’s travel ban from one of her deputies at the Department of Justice, The New Yorker reported Monday.

“You’re not going to believe this, but I just read online that the president has executed this travel ban,” Matt Axelrod reportedly told Yates by phone as she was traveling to the airport.

Justice Department and Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who examined the order were told not to discuss it with Yates, the report said.


Yates told the magazine that earlier in the day, she had visited White House counsel Don McGahn to discuss the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election meddling, after the probe found that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been compromised by the Russians.

“I had been sitting in Don McGahn’s office an hour before that,” Yates said, referencing the call she received from Axelrod. “He didn’t tell me.” 

Trump fired Yates after she refused to enforce his first travel ban, which was ultimately halted by a federal court and replaced with a revised order.

Yates earlier this month testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling lawmakers that the ban she refused to enforce was unlawful.

"In looking at what the intent was of the executive order — which was derived in part of an analysis of facts outside of the face of the order — that is part of what led to our conclusion that it was not lawful," Yates said at the time.