Sally Yates had to know that when she refused to enforce President Trump’s travel ban on Monday, she was effectively resigning her post as acting attorney general. After all, she was already a short-timer, a holdover from the Obama administration in place solely to bridge the time until Trump’s attorney general nominee — Jeff Sessions — is confirmed later this week.
All the hubbub then about Trump’s decision to dismiss Yates on Monday night kind of misses the point. It’s not that Yates was dismissed that’s important and telling. It’s how she was dismissed that matters.
First of all, Yates was informed of her dismissal two minutes before the statement announcing it was sent to reporters. That’s not exactly a long lead time, although, as I note above, she had to expect the firing since the second she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to enforce the travel ban.
The real key here is the White House’s statement. And what a statement it was.