PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Donald Trump’s travel ban is shaking up leadership in the Justice Department as tension is trickling down to lawmakers as they decide when to confirm the president’s pick for attorney general.
CBS 3’s Jessica Dean reports Republican senators say they need to move quickly to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
“This country without an attorney general, as we saw last night, was a major problem,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Trump fired Sally Yates, the acting head of the Justice Department, on Monday night after she refused to defend his executive order temporarily banning travel from citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries.
The White House said Yates had “betrayed” the Justice Department. Yates, a President Barack Obama appointee, questioned whether the president’s executive order was “lawful.”
“That statement said what an independent attorney general should do. That statement took a steel spine to stand up and say ‘no,’” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said a temporary ban is important.
“We are developing what additional vetting, ‘extreme vetting,’ might look like,” said Kelly.
House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the measure.
“There is nothing wrong with taking a pause and making sure we have the proper vetting standards in place so we do not have a problem like France had with Paris,” said Ryan.
However, some American diplomats warn terrorists are expected to use the travel ban as a propaganda tool to promote radical Islam.
The president’s travel ban allows for some exemptions.
Nearly 9,000 refugees who were already on their way to the United States when the order went into effect will still be allowed to enter the country.