Acting Attorney General Orders Justice Dept. Not to Defend Refugee Ban

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, ordered the Justice Department on Monday not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration in court.

“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers. “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.”

The decision is largely symbolic — Mr. Trump’s nominee to be attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, is likely to be confirmed soon — but it highlights the deep divide at the Justice Department and elsewhere in the government over Mr. Trump’s order.

Mr. Trump has the authority to fire Ms. Yates, but as the top Senate-confirmed official at the Justice Department, she is the only one authorized to sign foreign surveillance warrants, an essential function at the department.

“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,” she wrote.

Update:
And Trump just fired her:

President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.

In a press release, the White House said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

Confronted By Voters, Dem Sen. Explains Support Of Some Trump Nominees

From Talking Points Memo:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) fielded hours of questions Sunday from constituents angry at his supposed cooperation with the Trump administration, even moving to the open air when the middle school auditorium he had booked for a community dinner reached capacity.

Hours after speaking at a rally against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, Whitehouse was confronted by many of the same demonstrators at a planned event at Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence, according to the Providence Journal.

Whitehouse’s constituents pressured him on his support of some Cabinet-level appointees to Trump’s administration. The senator has voted to allow Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of defense; for Gen. John Kelly for secretary of of homeland security; for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and for Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as CIA director.

It was Whitehouse’s vote for Pompeo, who refused to rule out waterboarding in a Senate Intelligence Committee questionnaire, that received the harshest words from constituents.

“I will concede right off the bat that I may have been wrong,” Whitehouse said, according to the Providence Journal. “This is not one of those areas where I think it’s black-and-white.”

Still, he defended his support of Mattis, saying he felt “that it was important to get people into position to form basically a cordon of maturity of people who had experience in these areas around the White House in this very dangerous opening period.”

After pressure from the assembled crowd (the Providence Journal reported he answered questions for two-and-a-half hours), Whitehouse listed the Trump nominees he would oppose, to cheers.

Obama supports protests: ‘American values are at stake’

From Politico:

Former President Barack Obama’s office released a statement Monday supporting the protests going on around the country, and speaking out against discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion, saying “American values are at stake.”

Kevin Lewis, spokesman for Obama in his post-presidency, said that Obama — who has been threading the balance between the tradition of presidents deferring to their successors and coming out against President Donald Trump on specific issues he considered core values — “is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.”

Trump signs executive order requiring that for every one new regulation, two must be revoked

From Politico:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday morning requiring that for every new federal regulation implemented, two must be rescinded.

“This will be the biggest such act that our country has ever seen,” Trump declared moments before signing it in the Oval Office. “There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily. And that’s what our country has been all about.”

The executive order signing, which fulfills a campaign pledge, comes after the president held a listening session with small-business leaders.

“If you have a regulation you want, No. 1, we’re not gonna approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms,” Trump said. “But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two.”