Sally Yates out-lawyered Ted Cruz on Capitol Hill today

As the Senate’s questioning of former acting attorney general Sally Yates got underway this Monday, it was expected that there’d be some juicy segments to lift from the hearing. Thanks to Ted Cruz‘s poorly thought-out attempt to corner Yates, who is a career prosecutor, on her refusal to enforce President Trump’s Muslim ban, news outlets made Yates’ perfect out-lawyering of Cruz go viral today.

Cruz, who is also a lawyer, mentioned a segment of U.S. law that allows presidents to block certain immigrants from coming into the U.S. if they’re deemed to be a threat.

“By the expressed text of the statute, it says, ‘Whenever the President finds that the entry of any alien, or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation and for such a period as he may deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.’ Would you agree that is broad statutory authorization?” Cruz asked.

“I would, and I’m familiar with that,” Yates replied. “And I’m also familiar with with an additional provision of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] that says, ‘No person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, or place of birth,'” Yates cooly replied. “That, I believe, was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that’s been part of the discussion with the courts, with respect to the INA, is whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described.”

“But my concern was not an INA concern here,” Yates continued. “It rather was a constitutional concern.”

According to the Oliver Willis at Shareblue, Cruz immediately bailed after his exchange with Yates. Although we don’t know the reason why, you can’t really blame him for not wanting to stick around after a thrashing like that.

Watch the video below (you can see a longer version of the exchange here):

Featured image via screen grab

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