In a hearing centered on Russian interference in the election, one senator took the opportunity to question the former attorney general who was fired for refusing to defend President Trump's travel ban.

Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) asked former acting Attorney General Sally Yates why she refused to defend Trump's initial executive order barring travel from several Mideast nations.

"I believed any argument [the Justice Department] would have to make in its defense would not be grounded in the truth," Yates said.

"We would have to argue that it had nothing to do with religion," she said.

Kennedy asked whether there was no reasonable argument that could be made to defend the order any other way.


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Yates said she believed the intent of the order was to discriminate against Muslims trying to come to the United States.

She added that if it were an act of Congress, she would still have refused to defend it, pointing to the Obama Justice Department refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Kennedy asked Yates to tell him at which level of government an act becomes unconstitutional.

Yates repeated that she could not send lawyers to defend Trump's action without admitting the order's intent was discrimination.

"Who appointed you to the United States Supreme Court?" Kennedy asked.

Watch the full exchange above.


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