Trump sacks 2 top officials in rift over his immigration order

Trump sacks 2 top officials in rift over his immigration order
In a dramatic move, US President Donald Trump today fired two top officials, including Acting Attorney General Sally Yates who refused to enforce his controversial and executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering America that has triggered protests across the world.

"(Yates) has betrayed the Department of Justice," the White House said in a statement announcing the removal of the Obama Administration appointee.

Trump did not call Yates to dismiss her, she was informed by hand-delivered letter.

The move came soon after Yates told Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees.

"At present, I am not convinced that the defence of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful," Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers.

The White House said, "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 travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country," it said.

The White House named Dana Boente as the new Acting Attorney General till time its nominee Senator Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the US Senate.

"I am honoured to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed. I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected," Boente said.

Boente also rescinded Yates' guidance and instructed the Justice Department to "defend the lawful orders of our president."

Hours after firing Yates, Trump replaced acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Daniel Ragsdale with Thomas D Homan.

The Homeland Security Secretary Gen (rtd) John Kelly said, "I am confident that he will continue to serve as a strong, effective leader for the men and women of ICE. I look forward to working alongside him to ensure that we enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States consistent with the national interest."

Kelly's statement did not mention the reason for replacing Ragsdale.

Trump's executive order bars citizens of seven Muslim- majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days, suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely suspends the Syrian refugee program.

The sudden dismissal of Yates reflected the sudden political forces unleashed in Washington in the early days of the Trump administration as the President seeks to impose his authority on the federal government and shows little patience for those who would block him from implementing core campaign pledges, CNN commented.
 
Meanwhile, Democrats reacted with outrage to the dramatic events, warning that it called into question the independence of the Justice Department in the Trump administration.

"Trump has commenced a course of conduct that is Nixonian in its design and execution and threatens the long-vaunted independence of Department of Justice," Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers tweeted.

"If dedicated gov officials deem his directives to be unlawful & unconstitutional, he will simply fire them as if gov is a reality show," Conyers said.

Yates was fired as the administration was still recovering from the fury surrounding Trump's hardline immigration measures, including stinging criticism from some congressional Republicans who said the administration's process was far from smooth.

"They know it could've been done in a better way and my guess is they're going to try to clean it up," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told reporters.

"They probably learned that communication and the inter- agency process would probably be helpful."

Trump's immigration order has triggered one of the more significant moral and constitutional controversies in recent memory. But on a more fundamental level, it is raising basic questions about how Trump's White House will function, CNN commented.

"These sort of amateur hour hijinks are costing President Trump precious political capital ahead of his aggressive legislative push," it quoted Howard Schweitzer, a former high- ranking official in Republican and Democratic administrations as saying.

"The Public Relations debacle and failure to circulate this plan with leaders in Congress or our allies was a costly error and overwhelms any of the legitimate policies behind his order," Schweitzer added.
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