Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates kicked off the second virtual night of the Democratic National Convention accusing President Trump for treating the U.S. “like it’s his family business” that is “bankrupting our nation’s moral authority.”
“From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates said Tuesday night. “He’s trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department to attack his enemies and protect his friends.”
She added, “His constant attacks—on the FBI, the free press, inspectors general, military officers, and federal judges—they all have one purpose: to remove any check on his abuse of power. Put simply, he treats our country like it’s his family business—this time bankrupting our nation’s moral authority at home and abroad.”
Yates began her DNC saying she “never expected” as a career public servant to speak in a partisan political event, but said she accepted the Democrats opportunity because “The future of our democracy is at stake.”
“Speaking at a political convention is something I never expected to be doing — but the future of our democracy is at stake,” Yates said. “I served as Deputy Attorney General in the Obama-Biden Administration, and stayed on as Acting Attorney General for the Trump transition. Then, ten days in, I was fired.”
In 2017, Yates briefly served as acting attorney general and directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned all entries from seven predominantly Muslims countries including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days. In her instructions, Yates said she was convinced it was lawful or consistent with the agency’s “obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Trump fired Yates shortly after, saying the acting Attorney General dissent over the order “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
Yates claimed her refusal to defend Trump’s “shameful and unlawful” travel ban led to the removal of her longtime role from in the Justice Department and “was the start of his relentless attacks on our “democratic institutions” and public servants.
She accused Trump of “fawning” over Russian President Vladimir Putin, asserting that Russia is “still trying to interfere in our election” and claimed that Trump’s skepticism towards the post office is fueled to “sabotage” voters.
“Rather than standing up to Vladimir Putin, he fawns over a dictator who’s still trying to interfere in our elections,” Yates said. “He’s even trying to sabotage our postal service to keep people from being able to vote.”
Yates praised Biden during the closing of her four-minute remarks, saying the former vice president has spent his life putting the nation first.
“Our country doesn’t belong to [Trump]. It belongs to all of us,” she said. “Joe Biden embraces that. He has spent his entire life putting our country first. We need a president who respects our laws and the privilege of public service. Who reflects our values and cares about our people. We need a president who will restore the soul of America. We need Joe Biden.”
After her remarks, Trump fired back at the acting attorney general, calling Yates a “Terrible A.G” and questioned whether she was the leaker.
She was a terrible A.G. Was she the leaker? https://t.co/uSlFYYU9O0— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020