Jeff Sessions faces Senate vote for role of attorney general

Video emerges of Sessions asking sacked acting AG if she should ever say no to president

A video of Sally Yates answering questions on immigration law and standing up to the President from 2015 has gone viral after her sacking as attorney general. Video: CSPAN

 

Donald Trump’s choice to succeed Loretta Lynch as US attorney general, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, is facing a vote by the Senate judiciary committee on Tuesday afternoon (Irish time), as the fallout continues from Mr Trump’s sacking of acting attorney general Sally Yates on Monday.

Mr Trump fired Ms Yates after she publicly questioned the constitutionality of his refugee and immigration ban, and refused to defend it in court.

Video emerged on Tuesday from Ms Yates’s own confirmation hearing in March 2015 in which Mr Sessions asked whether the attorney general has a responsibility to sometimes say no to the president.

“Do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that’s improper? ... If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?” he asked.

In response, Ms Yates said: “Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president.”

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On Tuesday morning Mr Trump called on Democrats to move faster on approving his cabinet nominations.

In an early-morning post on his verified Twitter account, Mr Trump said: “When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet.

“They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn’t work.”

Several other cabinet picks are due for votes by the respective committees in the next few days.

The clash between Mr Trump and Ms Yates, a career prosecutor and Democratic appointee, laid bare the growing discord surrounding an executive order that halted the entire US refugee programme and banned all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.

The firing also served as a warning to other administration officials that Mr Trump is prepared to terminate those who refuse to carry out his orders.

Agencies