Tags: Donald Trump | Homeland Security | Immigration | Ted Cruz | Trump Administration | Trump Refugee Ban | Sally Yates

Cruz, Yates Trade Legal Barbs on Travel Ban


By    |   Monday, 08 May 2017 08:44 PM

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had a tense back-and-forth exchange with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday during a Senate hearing.

Cruz was armed with several questions pertaining to Yates' refusal to enforce President Donald Trump's first executive order on banning travel from countries with a terror presence, an act that led to her being fired from the Department of Justice.

Yates, however, seemed to have quick answers for nearly all of Cruz's questions.

Mediaite posted a clip of the exchange.

Cruz first asked Yates if she was familiar with 8 U.S.C. 1182, of which Yates said she was not.

"Well, it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement and that led to your termination," Cruz said. "So, it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute."

The Texas Republican then proceeded to read the statute and asked, "Would you agree that that is broad statutory authorization?"

Yates had a quick response.

"I would, and I am familiar with that, and I'm also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says 'no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth.' That, I believe, was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted.

"And that's been part of the discussion with the courts with respect to the INA, whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described. But my concern was not an INA concern here. It rather was a Constitutional concern, whether or not the executive order here violated the Constitution, specifically with the establishment clause and equal protection and due process."

Cruz continued his questioning by explaining the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) approved Trump's executive order in a legal sense.

Yates again was quick to respond, saying she questioned how that judgment was made because OLC does not "look outside the face of the document." And that, she said, forced her own legal team to "look at the intent behind the president's actions. And the intent is laid out in his statements."

Cruz closed with a question about whether attorneys general have ever gone against a presidential directive. Yates answered by accusing the Trump administration of advising the OLC to not speak with the attorney general about the order "until after it was over."

Both versions of Trump's executive order on travel have been struck down by the courts. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case for the second one Monday.

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Sen. Ted Cruz had a tense back-and-forth exchange with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday during a Senate hearing.
Sally Yates, travel ban, Attorney General, Senate
Monday, 08 May 2017 08:44 PM
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