Update (1/30/17, 9:37 p.m.): In response to Sally Yates's statement refusing to defend the Muslim ban, President Trump fired her. She will be replaced by attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente.
The White House released a statement saying she's "betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States."
The statement called Yates "weak on borders" and "very weak on illegal immigration," adding that "tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme."
As The New York Times notes, the last time a situation like this occurred was in 1973, when Richard Nixon fired his attorney general and deputy attorney general "for refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor in the Watergate case."
President Trump's attorney general pick, Jeff Sessions, is still awaiting Senate confirmation; in the meantime, Sally Yates, active attorney general from Obama's administration, is taking action against Trump's Muslim ban.
In a letter to lawyers in the Justice Department released Monday night, Yates said it's her responsibility is to ensure "that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to to always seek justice and stand for what's right":
"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful. Consequently, for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so."
Former attorney general Eric Holder praised Yates after her declaration, saying that "her judgment should be trusted."
Trump also took to Twitter (naturally) in what seems to be a response to Yates's statement, claiming that Democrats "are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons."
As The New York Times highlights, the statement was "largely symbolic" as the Senate will likely confirm Sessions soon, but it still "highlights the deep divide" within the U.S. government.
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