Sally Yates and Preet Bharara, both Obama-era former officials ousted by the Trump administration, offered candid criticisms of the president at Vanity Fair's "New Establishment Summit" in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Yates, briefly the acting attorney general for the new administration, said that the most troubling effect of Donald Trump's presidency has been the erosion of norms and traditions that prior presidents sought to protect.
The administration has jeopardized the norm that "the White House and the president has absolutely nothing to do with criminal investigations or prosecutions. Period," she said.
"What we have seen happen here is the president not just chip away at the wall, but breach the wall between DOJ and the White House on an investigation that reaches directly into the White House," Yates said, citing Trump's conduct toward former FBI Director James Comey and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Yates was fired in January after refusing to carry out the president's first attempt to restrict travel from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries.
She described learning about the travel ban through her assistant, who first read the news on The New York Times website. "That was how we found out about it," Yates said.