Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by President Trump just days after he took office for declaring that the Justice Department wouldn't defend a Trump executive order on immigration. She's now had almost 11 months to ponder the state of the US, and in an op-ed for USA Today, she parses it down to one main question: "Who are we as a country?" Yates mentions the "core values" and "founding ideals" we hold here as aspirations, noting America hasn't always adhered to them: Slavery, lynchings, and the Jim Crow laws are examples she cites that prove we've struggled in our quest for "equal justice." But that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to aspire to "our defining principles in our resolve to form a more perfect union," she says.
Yates adds how the rights and values we've become accustomed to as Americans—freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the rule of law—"without vigilance can erode and slip away," and that part of ensuring against that is holding our leaders' feet to the fire. Yates doesn't mention Trump by name, but she writes that "truth" is one important factor that separates us from autocracy. "We can't control whether our public servants lie to us," she writes. "But we can control whether we hold them accountable for those lies." Read her full piece here. Or read a counterpoint at the Conservative Review in which Chris Pandolfo calls Yates "despicably hypocritical." After all, he writes, Yates "appeals to the Constitution and the rule of law" and yet demonstrated contempt for both when she refused to enforce an executive order from the president. His full piece here.