Anderson Cooper was angry Monday evening on his CNN show Anderson Cooper 360°. He noted that Donald Trump’s travel ban has caused a huge uproar all over the world, but that some people in the United States also say they feel safer now.
He had CNN Justice Reporter Evan Perez on to talk about the latest developments.
“Well, Anderson, this is an extraordinary from the acting attorney general Sally Yates — she’s ordering the justice department lawyers not to defend the executive order that the president issued on Friday with regards to refugees and immigration,” Perez indicated, adding that Yates doesn’t think that this order is lawful.
Perez noted that Yates said she was responsible for ensuring that the positions taken in court remain consistent to stand for justice and what is right. He said the president has the right to fire Yates, and — according to the New York Times, that’s exactly what happened.
“President Trump fired his acting attorney general on Monday night after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order that has closed the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.”
The article adds that Trump believes Yates betrayed the Department of Justice when she said she would not defend Trump’s order against legal challenges. Mr. Trump replaced Ms. Yates with Dana J. Boente, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente will be replaced once Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is confirmed.
This happened right after Anderson’s show this evening. As Cooper noted during his show, Trump sent out a tweet criticizing Democrats for trying to delay his cabinet picks.
Anderson Cooper then asked some of his guests about the legality of Trump’s executive order.
“Well, she’s a terrific public servant with a great reputation, but she’s made a serious mistake; she’s responded to politics with politics,” Alan Dershowitz, a famous law professor at Harvard University, told Anderson, adding that some part of Trump’s executive orders may actually be constitutional.
Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor, told Anderson Cooper she disagreed with Professor Gershowitz because she thought Yates could not legally defend Trump’s executive orders.
“Don’t lawyers usually make arguments based on what their clients want and not based on their personal beliefs?” Cooper asked.
“It’s true, they do make arguments. But they have to be grounded in the law,” Coates answered, adding that there’s not any clear legal guidance going forward on how to actually enforce the law and whether or not what they’re enforcing is consistent with other objectives.
Page Pate, a constitutional attorney, told Anderson Cooper that Yates is not political. He said she’s been a career prosecutor for decades. He continued to list Yates’ accomplishments and qualifications.
“She has never made decisions based on politics. She makes decisions based on what she believes is right,” Pate passionately argued, adding that he believes Yates saw a very serious constitutional problem and that it was her obligation to say something since nobody else in that administration did.
Alan Dershowitz interrupted in order to say that it’s not Yates’ job to make sure that what is happening in the DOJ is right or to preserve the integrity of the department. Her job is to serve the president.
What do you make of Anderson Cooper’s guests? Do you think Yates should have been fired? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]