Ted Cruz and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates squared off in a testy showdown over President Donald Trump‘s proposed travel ban — which, in its original form, proposed a ban on travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Yates was fired by Trump after refusing to implement the ban, which was eventually ruled to be unconstitutional by a Federal Circuit Court.
The Texas senator, in his allotted time for questioning at Monday’s Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about Russian interference in the 2016 election, pressed Yates on the ban. He asked if she was familiar with 8 U.S.C. 1182. Yates said she wasn’t.
“Well, it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement and that led to your termination,” Cruz said. “So it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute.”
Cruz then proceeded to quote from the statute:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any alien or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation and for such period as he shall deem necessary suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.
“Would you agree that that is broad statutory authorization?” Cruz asked.
Yates wasted no time with her response:
“I would, and I am familiar with that, and I’m also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says ‘no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth.’ That, I believe, was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that’s been part of the discussion with the courts with respect to the INA is whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described. But my concern was not an INA concern here. It rather was a Constitutional concern, whether or not the executive order here violated the Constitution specifically with the establishment clause and equal protection and due process.”
Some people on Twitter were ecstatic after Yates’ response. Here’s a sampling of the reaction:
Yates just OWNED Ted Cruz.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) May 8, 2017
So hard to figure out why no one in the Senate can stand Ted Cruz… #YatesHearing
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 8, 2017
This is so delicious it’s better than the chocolate cake at Mar-A-Lago. Sally Yates is having Ted Cruz for lunch.
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) May 8, 2017
Ted Cruz doing his part here to help Sally Yates launch her political career, should she want one.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 8, 2017
ted cruz: LOUD NOISES
sally yates: sit. be quiet. learn.
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 8, 2017
Watch above, via CNN.
[featured image via screengrab]
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