New acting attorney general orders Justice Dept. to defend Trump’s refugee orders

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Attorney General Dana Boente is ordering the Justice Department to “do our sworn duty” and defend President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

Boente was named to the job Monday night after Trump fired Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee who had publicly questioned the constitutionality of the executive order and directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend it in court. Yates said she was not convinced it was lawful or consistent with the agency’s obligation “to stand for what is right.”

Boente, who was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was sworn in at 9 p.m. ET, an administration official said. A few hours later, Boente issued a statement rescinding Yates’ order, and instructed DOJ lawyers to “defend the lawful orders of our President.”

Trump didn’t call Yates to dismiss her, she was informed by hand-delivered letter, according to a different administration official.

Boente said in a statement issued by the Justice Department that Trump’s executive order is “both lawful on its face and properly drafted.”