The decision is extremely rare and perfectly illustrates the new political context in Washington DC since the arrival of the new US President Donald Trump at the White House. Acting Attorney General (AG) Sally Yates, appointed by Barack Obama, was sacked because she “has betrayed the Department of Justice (DOJ) by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” declared the Trump administration in a statement.
This move followed Yates’s public criticism of the 90-day US entry ban against nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. Yates’ dismissal reflects the tensions growing inside US power circles where the new democratically elected administration is being confronted with a difficult transition in some federal agencies.
Similarly in the Senate where in spite of an at least arithmetically strong Republican majority, 17 people appointed to the government by Trump have yet to be confirmed at their post almost eleven days after Inauguration Day – compared to 7 and 4 respectively for his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Among them, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions whose nomination has fueled much publicized turmoil inside the DOJ where the new Acting AG Dana J. Boente will likely live a few turbulent days.