In a statement released from the White House, it was explained that the Attorney General, Sally Yates had lost her position due to instructing lawyers from the Justice Department to not defend the travel ban instated by President Trump.
According to the White House, the former Attorney General has “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
This is what led, within the same hour, “Monday Night Massacre” to start trending on Twitter.
Sound familiar? It should.
In ’73, former President Nixon ordered to have special prosecutor Archibald Cox to be removed from his position when he refused to obey Nixon’s order to back off of Watergate. This led to not one, but two of the top leaders in the Justice Department to resign rather than follow the directive to fire Cox. This coined the phrase “Saturday Night Massacre,” which basically points to an instance where an acting president uses his power to cripple those in the Justice Department that disagree with them.
Yes, the Justice Department is one of the parts that make up the executive branch, but it is usually and by tradition almost entirely independent of the presidential office. This separation is supposed to keep the investigations and law enforcement’s integrity intact.