Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates fired back Monday when Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) attempted to corner her over her opposition to President Trump's immigration executive order. At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Cornyn informed Yates that he found it "enormously disappointing" that she "somehow vetoed the decision of the Office of Legal Counsel with regard to the lawfulness of the president's order" just because she happened "to disagree with it as a policy matter."
Yates refused to let Cornyn reduce the debate to just a "policy matter." She pointed back to her confirmation hearing, during which Cornyn and his colleagues asked Yates if she would push back on something the president did if she believed it was "unlawful or unconstituional." "And I looked at this. I made a determination that I believed it was unlawful," Yates said. "I also thought it was inconsistent with principles of the Department of Justice." Several federal courts have also ruled that Trump's order, which blocks people from multiple Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., violates the Constitution.
When Cornyn questioned Yates' "authority to overrule the Office of Legal Counsel," she had a snappy response ready to fire. "Well," Yates said, "I was the attorney general of the United States."
Watch a portion of the exchange below. Becca Stanek