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Sally Yates appears at Democratic convention to rip Trump travel ban

Sally Yates appears at Democratic convention to rip Trump travel ban
© Hill.TV

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesThe case against Sally Yates Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks MORE spoke Tuesday night at the virtual Democratic National Convention, where she ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE for pursuing a ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries early in his presidency.

“Speaking at a political convention is something I never expected to be doing, but the future of our democracy is at stake,” said Yates, a longtime Justice Department official who served in the Obama administration before staying on in an acting role during the transition to the Trump administration.

“Then, I was fired for refusing to defend President Trump's shameful and unlawful Muslim travel ban,” Yates said, referring to the president's decision to restrict travel to the U.S. from several majority-Muslim nations.

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Yates said that decision — which came less than a month after Trump took office — was "the start of his relentless attacks on our democratic institutions and countless dedicated public servants."

"From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country," Yates said in her remarks from Atlanta. "He’s trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department, trying to attack his enemies and protect his friends."

The president fired back at Yates in a tweet late Tuesday, calling her "a terrible A.G."

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Yates served briefly as acting attorney general early in Trump’s tenure before the president fired her for refusing to defend his travel ban.

Trump first issued the travel ban in 2017, suspending entry to those coming from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — all predominantly Muslim countries. Trump administration officials later added several non-Muslim-majority countries to the list as it faced a number of legal challenges, and the ban was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE has pledged to overturn the ban if he wins in November.

Yates most recently regained national attention when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a heated hearing about investigations into former Trump campaign aides that were related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

“Rather than standing up to [Russian President] Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEnforcing the Presidential Records Act is essential for preserving our democracy's transparency, history Putin says doctors and teachers will get first COVID-19 vaccines in new immunization campaign Scarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump MORE, he fawns over a dictator who’s still trying to interfere in our elections,” Yates said Tuesday night. “He’s even trying to sabotage our Postal Service to keep people from being able to vote.”

Updated: Aug. 19 at 12:08 a.m.