Sally Quillian Yates

Born:August 20, 1960 (age 61)
Career:Acting U.S. attorney general, January 2017
U.S. deputy attorney general, 2015-2017
U.S. attorney, Northern District of Georgia, 2010-2015
Acting U.S. attorney, 2004
First assistant U.S. attorney, Northern District of Georgia, 2002-2010
Assistant U.S. attorney, Northern District of Georgia, 1989-2002
Education:B.A., University of Georgia; J.D., University of Georgia School of Law

Sally Yates served as United States acting attorney general from January 20, 2017, following the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, until being dismissed by Trump on January 30, 2017, following her instruction to the Justice Department not to defend Trump's immigration-related executive order in court.

Yates was born on born August 20, 1960, in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 1982 from the University of Georgia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986. While in law school, Yates served as the executive editor of the Georgia Law Review. She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1986, and from 1986 to 1989 was an associate at a law firm in Atlanta, specializing in commercial litigation.

In 1989, Yates was hired as assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, and in 1994 she became chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section. In 2002, she became first assistant U.S. attorney, and in 2004 she became acting U.S. attorney. She was nominated by President Barack Obama to be U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Georgia and was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2010, the first woman to hold that position the Northern District of Georgia.

On May 13, 2015, Yates was confirmed as deputy attorney general of the United States, the second-highest-ranking position in the Justice Department. During her confirmation hearing, when questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions if she would disobey a president's unlawful orders, she responded that she would have an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give an independent legal advice to the president.

In January 20, 2017, Yates began serving as acting attorney general, agreeing to serve until a successor for Attorney General Loretta Lynch was confirmed. On January 26 and 27, she warned the Trump administration that National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn had not been truthful about his contacts with Russia and that he was vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence. On January 30, Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend Trump's executive order on travel and immigration because she was not convinced it was lawful, and was immediately dismissed by the Trump administration. On February 13, 2017, after The Washington Post reported Yates's warning about Flynn, Flynn immediately resigned.