Who Is Sally Yates, Anyway?

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post/Getty.
Update: On Monday, former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. She was brought in to describe her conversations with White House officials on why she was concerned about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Ahead, we list everything you should know about Yates, who was fired after declining to defend President Trump's controversial travel ban in late January, and who also warned the White House that Flynn was at risk of being blackmailed by Russia.
This story was originally published on January 31, 2017.
Sally Yates had to know there would be repercussions once she sent a memo saying the Department of Justice wouldn't defend President Trump's so-called refugee ban. Her days as acting attorney general were numbered anyway, but that didn't stop the Trump administration from removing her from office in a matter of hours. After serving the Justice Department for over two decades, Yates' 27-years-long career there ended with her being fired.
But even though the Trump administration said she "betrayed" the DOJ, multiple people have called her a "hero" and a "true patriot."
But who is Yates, anyway? Ahead, the most important things you should know about the former acting attorney general.

She was appointed by the Obama administration

The Atlanta, GA, native was appointed as a U.S. Attorney by President Obama back in 2010, the first woman ever to hold the position in her district. She was then appointed as the United States Deputy Attorney General in 2015, and worked hand-in-hand with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

She was the lead prosecutor in the case against Eric Rudolph, the "Olympic bomber"

Yates was a prosecutor in Georgia for over two decades. She was the lead prosecutor in the case against Eric Rudolph, "the Olympic bomber."
Rudolph was convicted for the 1996 bombing of the Olympic Park during the Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. He had also bombed an abortion clinic and was connected to several other bombings in the Atlanta area and Birmingham, AL.
He was sentenced to serve four consecutive life sentences plus 120 years in prison.

She oversaw the Justice Department work on the Obama administration's clemency initiative and pushed for criminal justice reform

Yates worked closely with the previous administration’s clemency initiative, in which President Obama ended up commuting the sentences of more than 1,700 nonviolent drug offenders who met certain criteria.
She also pushed for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. The initiative aimed for sentencing policies focusing on criminals that posed a serious threat instead of non-violent drug offenders. Reducing "unnecessarily long" prison sentences and investing in programs preventing recidivism were also some of her priorities.

She'd made clear before that she is a woman of principles

Yates' actions on Monday were not out of character for her.
At her confirmation hearing in 2015, Sen. Jeff Session — who is now ironically on deck to be confirmed as the Trump's administration attorney general — asked her whether she would stand up to then-President Obama.
He asked, "If the views that the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?"
"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," Yates answered.
According to CNN, Sessions eventually voted against her confirmation.
A week after being confirmed, she said, "We’re not the Department of Prosecutions or even the Department of Public Safety. We are the Department of Justice."

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