Nixon White House lawyer: Trump's firing of acting AG Yates a 'new low'

Nixon White House lawyer: Trump's firing of acting AG Yates a 'new low'
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John Dean, former White House counsel under President Richard Nixon, is calling President Trump’s firing of his acting attorney general on Monday night a “new low.”

“I’ve never read White House statement as nasty as Trump’s attack on Acting AG Sally Yates," Dean tweeted. “New low.”

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Following Yates’s announcement that she directed the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration, the White House announced that Yates had been fired and replaced.

“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel,” the White House said in a statement announcing her firing.

"Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”

Many on social media compared Trump’s decision on Monday to the so-called Saturday Night Massacre during the Nixon era.

In 1973, Nixon clashed with his attorney general, demanding that the special prosecutor handling the Watergate investigation be fired.

Rather than carry out Nixon’s order, Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both resigned.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) is also making a comparison between Trump's and Nixon’s actions.

“President Trump has commenced a course of conduct that is Nixonian in its design and execution and threatens the long-vaunted independence of the Justice Department,” the top Democrat on the House Judicial Committee said in a statement.

“If dedicated government officials deem his directives to be unlawful and unconstitutional, he will simply fire them as if government is a reality show. I call on my colleagues, regardless of party, to condemn this executive order and the reckless firing of our chief law enforcement officer.”