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.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Images from Instagram and Wikipedia

It’s true that much of our wildlife is in danger. Like, an alarmingly large amount. In 2021 alone, 22 species were declared extinct in the United States.

And globally, Earth is facing what scientists refer to as its “sixth mass extinction,” primarily thanks to human activity. You know, deforestation, climate change, overconsumption, overpopulation, industrial farming, poaching … the usual suspects.

It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but sadly, it’s the reality we are currently living in.

But today, there is a silver lining. Because the World Wildlife Fund recently reported 224 completely new species.

From a snake who channels David Bowie to a monkey with ivory spectacles, there are a lot of newly discovered creatures here to offer a bit of hope to otherwise bleak statistics.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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