Sally Yates, the Obama Department of Justice appointee who served as acting attorney general in the earliest days of the Trump administration, called the president “shamelessly unpatriotic,” after he told reporters Saturday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin denials respecting Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The president’s own appointees in the intelligence community, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, have endorsed reports concluding the Russians actively interfered with the political process throughout 2016.
Now a lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, Yates said in a Saturday tweet that Trump’s statements about Putin are “disturbing and shamelessly unpatriotic.”
POTUS embraces Putin yet again telling world he believes former KGB agent’s denial of attack on our election over our own Intel public servants, calling them “political hacks.” Disturbing and shamelessly unpatriotic, on Veterans Day no less.
— Sally Yates (@SallyQYates) November 11, 2017
Yates became the face of bureaucratic resistance to Trump after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend the president’s first executive order on refugees and migrants in late January. The president fired her just hours later. Yates’ decision to undermine the executive order’s implementation was criticized by Justice Department veterans, who argued the traditions of the department call for officials to resign when given instructions to which they have a conscientious objection.
She continued to defend her decision, arguing it was the result of an impartial and deliberative process, which corresponds to the duties of the Department of Justice.
Since leaving the Justice Department, she has been a strident critic of the administration, criticizing the president for politicizing DOJ in a July column for The New York Times, and visiting law schools to discuss her decision to defy Trump. Democrats in her home state of Georgia have also floated her name as a potential candidate for statewide office.