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Scarborough Slams ‘Chilling’ Language Over AG Firing: ‘That’s What an Autocrat Would Use’

MSNBC’s Morning Joe was not all too pleased Tuesday with the news that sitting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired via hand delivered letter and replaced yesterday by the White House after Yates defied the executive action over immigration.

Yates, appointed by Obama and serving in the role until the completion of the confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said in a letter to the Department of Justice, “My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts.”

Although legally the administration has the right to remove Yates, it was the language released by the White House in response to Yates that Joe Scarborough labeled as “frightening,” and “chilling.”

The White House said as part of its response to Yates’ stance that the acting Attorney General, “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” The key word that stuck in Scarborough’s craw was betrayed, invoking deeply autocratic and scary tones.

Scarborough said Tuesday morning on MSNBC, “The word betrayed, using the word betrayed for somebody: that’s frightening. That’s what an autocrat would use, whoever put that word in there.”

“That is frightening, chilling language, whether they had a right to do this or not,” Scarborough continued, admitting that most legal experts would assess the situation fairly and note that the administration is well within its rights to remove Yates. “But saying somebody ‘betrayed’ the Justice Department because they don’t agree with you? Take that to Venezuela, OK? We don’t really want to use that sort of language here. It’s time for you guys to grow up. It really is time for you to grow up.”

The administration announced that Dana J. Boente — who prosecuted former Republican Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell — will take up the role of acting Attorney General until the Sessions confirmation is complete. Watch above via MSNBC.

[image via screengrab]

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