WATCH: Jeff Sessions asks Sally Yates about saying 'no' to the president in 2015 video

by: Douglas Barclay, Updated:


WASHINGTON - After President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban, a video began to circulate online from Yates’ 2015 confirmation hearing.

In the clip, Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Yates whether she would be able to say “no” to the president. 

"You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you need to say no about," Sessions, now Trump's nominee for attorney general, said in the video. "Do you think the attorney general has the responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that’s improper? A lot of people have defended the Lynch nomination, for example, by saying, ‘Well, he appoints somebody who’s going to execute his views; what’s wrong with that?'”

>> Watch the clip here

Sessions then asked Yates if she would be willing to do the very thing she did Monday – disagree with the president when she felt he or she was on the wrong side of the law.

In this June 28, 2016, file photo, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks at the Justice Department in Washington.
AP Photo/J. David Ake

“But if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?” he asked.

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“Senator, I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” Yates replied.

In a statement Monday, the White House claimed that by disagreeing with the president, Yates “betrayed the Justice Department.”