Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates stated on Friday that President Donald Trump would display a severe lack of “moral authority” if he were to refuse to attend an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.
During the Women in the World Summit in New York City, Yates spoke about the Russia investigation and her disappointment with lack of pushback from the Republican Party.
“I don’t understand how he would have the moral authority to lead this country if he didn’t answer those questions,” Yates said during the conference, according to The Associated Press.
Mueller’s investigation has been seeking to coordinate with the Trump administration in order to interview the president. While talks about such a sit-down have been ongoing for months, it remains unclear if it will actually happen.
The president has publicly expressed an interest in speaking with the special counsel and his team, but a personal attorney of the Trump’s advised against the interview with the investigative team.
John Dowd, the attorney who urged the president not to sit with Mueller, has since departed from Trump’s legal team. The legal team has yet to indicate whether Trump will be speaking with the special counsel.
On Thursday, NBC News reported that Mueller will move forward with the interview with Trump following the raids on Michael Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room.
Yates, the veteran of the Department of Justice, was fired soon after Trump took office after she disagreed with his 2017 travel ban. The travel ban was an executive order that sought to prohibit immigration from Muslim-majority countries, temporarily banning refugee admissions and barring some legal permanent residents and US green card holders from entering the United States.
Yates instructed the DOJ not to enact the ban and was consequently fired shortly after.
“It became apparent to me that to defend this, we would have to advance an argument that the travel ban had absolutely nothing to do with religion,” she told The New York Times at the time, adding, “I didn’t believe that to be the truth.”
While newer versions of the ban had narrowed their scope, Yates continued to argue that they had “that same animus, the racial animus, affects all of them.”
Since her departure, 37 officials have resigned or been fired. Rod Rosenstein, the current deputy attorney general, also appears to be next in line for firing. Multiple outlets reported that Rosenstein is prepared for his inevitable termination.
H/T: The Hill