President Trump fired the acting attorney general late last night, removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. He made this decision in response to her refusal to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to those residing in the half a dozen Middle Eastern and African countries.

The president declared in a statement that Sally Q. Yates, who had served as deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, had betrayed the administration by announcing that Justice Department lawyers would not defend Mr. Trump’s order against legal challenges.

He put emphasis on the fact of Yates’ refusal to enforce the ban, although never questioning the legality of the order.

Yates, a layover from the Obama administration, was replaced by Dana Boente. He was sworn in at 9 p.m., according to White House officials. In a statement, Mr. Boente pledged to “defend and enforce the laws of our country.”

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Dana J. Boente, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in 2012. Credit Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Boente will continue to serve as acting AG, until the Senate confirms Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s nominee.

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