Tags: sally yates | public service | prison reform | travel ban

Yates Wants to Return to Public Service, Not Public Office

Yates Wants to Return to Public Service, Not Public Office
Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (Steven Senne/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:05 AM

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said Wednesday she'd like to return to public service, but she is not interested in mounting a campaign for public office.

"I've never been drawn to the idea of elective office," Yates, who was fired for refusing to direct the Justice Department to defend President Donald Trump's travel ban, told MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough.

"This isn't about what you want," Scarborough told her. "This is about what America needs. Just remember that."

"Elective office, I'm having a hard time seeing," Yates responded. "But we'll see, I suppose."

Yates, who has joined Georgetown University's law school this fall as a distinguished lecturer from government, further commented on the program about the latest iteration of the travel ban, saying she hasn't studied it to the point that she did the first one, which led to her being fired.

There has been much more work on the ban since Trump's first try, and now there's more of a national security basis included in it, Yates said.

"There's actually been a process now that did not exist for the first travel ban, and, actually consulting with national security agencies," she said, but she imagines the latest ban will also end up in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Yates said that even though she is concerned about the state of the rule of law in the United States, and about the connections between the Justice Department and the White House, she has faith that the nation's institutions will hold up.

"Our institutions are holding, and there are career men and women at the Department of Justice. In fact, the vast majority of folks at DOJ are career prosecutors and career lawyers, and they're holding in this," Yates said. "The issue is not whether the rule of law has actually been subverted but whether the president has attempted to do that. You know, it's not for lack of trying on his part."

She added that she has "tremendous confidence" in special counsel Robert Muller and his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Yates is in Washington Wednesday to speak at a gathering about criminal justice reform, and commented on the program about the state of prisons and mandatory sentencing.

"We have 5 percent of the world's population, but yet 25 percent of its prisoners," she said. "We have seen our overall prison population go from about half a million back in the early '80s to 2.2 million today."

That creates significant costs, Yates continued, and the money that is used to jail nonviolent offenders could be used for or crime prevention and recidivism reduction programs instead.

"It's one of the few issues in Washington on which there is truly bipartisan support," Yates said. "You have everybody from the Koch brothers to the ACLU who recognize that we really need to adjust our approach to how we're using incarceration in this country."

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Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said Wednesday she'd like to return to public service, but she is not interested in mounting a campaign for public office.
sally yates, public service, prison reform, travel ban
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2017-05-18
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:05 AM
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