After the acting US Attorney General Sally Yates was fired just hours after issuing a memo ordering Justice Department lawyers not to defend President Donald Trump's executive action temporarily banning refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries, the White House announced her replacement: Dana Boente.

Within the first minutes after being sworn in as Acting Attorney General, Boente overturned Yates' memo and directed the department "to do our sworn duty and to defend the lawful orders of our President".

In a statement put out by the White House, Boente said on being named: "I am honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed. I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected."

Boente was the Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, according to the Washington Post, he was known well for prosecuting public corruption cases, including that of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.

Those who have worked with Boente told the paper that he would not have taken the job had he thought Trump's travel ban executive order to be illegal: "If he thought that the executive order was illegal, I doubt very seriously he would have taken the position of acting attorney general," said Gene Rossi, former assistant US attorney.

Boente has worked in the Justice Department for 33 years. In the ceremony to swear him in as Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Obama-era Attorney General, Loretta Lynch said: "He is that reliable middle child, the one you could always count on to be there for you."

At the same ceremony, Boente talked about how his mother raised his siblings and him after his father died, saying that she had given them "opportunities she never had". Boente's former job is more important than it might at first sound, that part of Virginia includes offices of both the CIA and the Pentagon and often prosecutes cases on national security.