Sally Yates finally explained why she refused to defend the Muslim ban.

Sally Yates just testified for the first time about her now-legendary refusal to defend Trump's travel ban — and, predictably, she didn't come to play around.

Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images.

In the key exchange, the former acting-attorney general calmly explained to Sen. John Cornyn why she refused to defend what she called an "unlawful" executive order.

She couldn't, in good conscious, she said, send Department of Justice attorneys in to lie on the administration's behalf about what the purpose of the executive order really was: an attempt to discriminate against Muslims.


SALLY YATES: All arguments have to be based on truth because we're the Department of Justice. We're not just a law firm. We're the Department of Justice.
CORNYN: Do you distinguish the truth from lawful?
YATES: Yes, because in this instance, in looking at what the intent was of the executive order, which was derived in part from an analysis of facts outside the face of the order, that is part of what led to our conclusion that it was not lawful.

The outside facts Yates considered in making her decision were public statements made by officials involved with the drafting of the order — statements that contradicted the administration's assertion that the order was not intentionally discriminatory.

Though Yates didn't clarify which statements she was referring to, possible candidates include President Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" and campaign advisor Rudy Giuliani's admission that, following the election, Trump had asked him about instituting a Muslim travel ban — specifically "how to do it legally."

Basically, Yates believed that Trump's insistence that the order wasn't a Muslim ban was BS and felt it would be unprofessional to argue that BS in court.

"I believed that any argument that we would have to make in its defense would not be grounded in the truth," she said, bluntly, later in the May 8, 2017, hearing.

Yates metaphorically dunking on her Senate critics was more than satisfying to watch — it was a model of principled resistance.

The former Justice Department official drove her point home by clarifying her belief that following orders, even compelling ones, is less important than sticking up for the truth — no matter what the professional consequences might be.

Image via C-SPAN3.

"I looked at this, I made a determination that I believed that it was unlawful," Yates said of the executive order. "I also thought that it was inconsistent with the principles of the Department of Justice. And I said no. And that's what I promised you I would do, and that's what I did."

In the end, by refusing to defend an order she felt was unlawful, Yates didn't just do the right thing.

"I did my job," she explained. Thankfully, someone did.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

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First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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