Former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesFormer Chicago Red Stars players accuse ex-coach of verbal, emotional abuse An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Sally Yates reveals breast cancer battle MORE spoke Tuesday night at the virtual Democratic National Convention, where she ripped President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth 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.
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."
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates says President Trump "treats our country like it's his family business — this time, bankrupting our nation’s moral authority at home and abroad. But our country doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to all of us." https://t.co/tFT8FVSwQb pic.twitter.com/crMvYJGhlF— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 19, 2020
The president fired back at Yates in a tweet late Tuesday, calling her "a terrible A.G."
She was a terrible A.G. Was she the leaker? https://t.co/uSlFYYU9O0— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020
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 BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles 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 PutinOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Blinken decries coordinated Russian destabilizing efforts Biden says team working on 'initiatives' to prevent Russian invasion of Ukraine 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.