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Sally Yates gave her sharpest criticism yet against Trump

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Sally Yates
Sally
Yates.

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  • Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates criticized
    the Trump administration and urged people to vote during the
    midterm elections.
  • “Regardless of one’s prior involvement in the political
    world, one thing is very clear now,” Yates said at a Democratic
    National Committee event in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “This is
    not a time for any of us to sit on the sidelines. There is just
    too much at stake.”
  • Yates called the Trump White House callous and
    discriminatory, and sided with critics who claim President
    Donald Trump is capitalizing on nationalist sentiment and
    habitually peddling falsehoods.
  • The former official has typically avoided the political
    spotlight after she was fired for refusing to enforce the first
    version of Trump’s controversial travel ban in January
    2017.

Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates in a speech delivered
her sharpest criticism of the Trump administration yet, and urged
people to vote in the midterm elections.

“Regardless of one’s prior involvement in the political world,
one thing is very clear now,” Yates said at a Democratic National
Committee event in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “This is not a
time for any of us to sit on the sidelines. There is just too
much at stake.”

“I’m not referring to any particular policies, or issues. I’m not
talking about healthcare or taxes, or even immigration policy,”
Yates added. “Those are important, but I think that there’s
something much more fundamental on the line. Because I think our
country is at a crossroads.”

Yates repeatedly urged voters to head to the polls for the
November midterm election and beyond, a message that was echoed
by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez in the event.

“Right now, we have the fight of our lives ahead of us,” Yates
said. “Because right now, the fight that we’re facing is really
about nothing less than the soul of our country.”

“We have to decide if we’re going to be a country that is
governed by rule of law — or are we going to allow the
cornerstone of our democracy to literally crumble under the
weight of a president who uses the Department of Justice as a
sword to go after his enemies, or a shield to protect himself and
his friends.”


Sally Yates
Former
acting Attorney General Sally Yates, right, and former National
Intelligence Director James Clapper, arrive to testify on Capitol
Hill in Washington before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, May
8, 2017.

Carolyn
Kaster/AP


Yates referenced the Trump administration’s controversial
zero-tolerance immigration policy — which she called callous and
discriminatory — and sided with
critics who claim Trump is capitalizing on nationalist sentiment
and peddling falsehoods
.

“Are we going to weaponize the differences and use them to stoke
fear and division, or are we going to be a country grounded in
just basic human decency and compassion,” Yates asked. “Or are we
going to rip children from parents and put them in cages?”

Yates continued: “Are we going to be a country that vigorously
debates the issues, but debates that are grounded in common facts
in truth? Or are we going to apathetically slip into the world
where our leaders just flat make it all up every day — with no
accountability to the point where there are no common facts and
there is no such thing as objective truth anymore?”

Yates, who served as deputy attorney general during the Obama
administration and most recently as the acting attorney general,
has avoided the political spotlight after she was fired for
refusing to enforce the first version of President Donald Trump’s
travel ban in January 2017.

“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,” Yates
said in a letter
in 2017, prior to her dismissal.


donald trump jeff sessions
President
Donald Trump speaks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the
National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the
US Capitol in Washington, May 15, 2017.

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Democrats have rallied
around Yates
.

As a Democrat from Georgia, she was once viewed as a potential
candidate to represent the 6th Congressional District, a seat
that was held by former Republican Rep. Tom Price, the secretary
of Health and Human Services who
resigned
in September 2017.

Despite the backing from fellow Democrats, Yates has not shown
any indication she may run for public office. She is currently a
partner at the King and Spalding
law firm.

In her closing remarks Tuesday night, Yates recounted an
improvised speech from President Barack Obama during a Justice
Department ceremony for new US attorneys — a speech she claimed
stood “in stark contrast” to the Trump administration.

“He looked at us and he said, ‘I appointed you, but you don’t
represent me. You represent the people of the United States,”
Yates recounted. “‘As long are you remember that, and act on
that, I’m going to be proud of everything you do.'”

“Can you imagine that happening today?” Yates said.

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