Sally Yates: I found out about travel ban by ‘reading about it on the internet’

Sally Yates: I found out about travel ban by ‘reading about it on the internet’
© Greg Nash

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said Tuesday that she learned about the Trump administration's travel ban by "reading about it on the internet."

“Matt calls me and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but I was just on The New York Times website and it looks like the president has instituted some sort of travel ban,' " Yates recalled during a Tuesday panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Prior to the phone call, Yates recounted that she was on the way to the airport after a meeting at the White House about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

The ousted Justice Department official also slammed the White House for disregarding political and legal norms, saying people should be concerned by Trump's conduct.

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“Surely [criminality is] not our bar. That’s not the standard of conduct that we’re looking for from our president or our administration," she said in part. "I mean, it shouldn’t just be whether you’ve committed a felony or not. It should also be whether or not you’re observing the kinds of norms that we’ve been talking about here today.”

Yates also expressed "total confidence" in special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The White House suddenly fired Yates in January, after she said the Justice Department would not defend Trump's first travel ban that barred nationals from of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for 90 days, arguing that the order was unconstitutional because it discriminated against followers of a religion. 

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that part of Trump’s second version could take effect, allowing the administration to block travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It would also block the entry of all refugees for 120 days.