Americans plan to march in 48 states if Donald Trump fires Robert Mueller following former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s Monday surrender to the FBI, according to Newsweek.
Special counsel Mueller is heading the investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election. In January, the U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered with the U.S. electoral process by engaging in hacking operations and spreading misinformation through social media. In May, the Justice Department appointed former director of the FBI Robert Mueller to head the investigations, and on Friday, CNN reported that Mueller’s team had filed the first charges against former Trump’s associates, a report later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. Reports had suggested that the investigations will yield the first scalps as early as Monday, and over the weekend, rumors were rife as to who in the Trump power chain was most likely to take the first fall in what could quickly and completely turn into a nightmare for the Donald Trump administration.
And today, the New York Times reported that Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were indicted on money laundering, tax, and foreign lobbying charges.
“Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States without paying taxes on that income…
As part of the scheme, Manafort and Gates repeatedly provided false information to financial bookkeepers, tax accountants and legal counsel, among others.”
The indictment, which was expected by Manafort after the FBI raided his home during the summer but now significantly heats up the investigations and raises the stakes for Donald Trump and his presidency, has already brought about a distraught reaction by Trump, who tweeted the Republicans to “DO SOMETHING” to what he called was a “witch hunt” cooked up by Hillary Clinton, a distracting rebuttal several Republicans have explicitly distanced themselves from. Although Trump lawyer Ty Cobb and former Manafort associate Roger Stone Jr. have maintained that there is nothing Manafort can tell the investigators which could lead to Donald Trump’s indictment, observers in Washington maintain that given the President’s capricious behavior and also the fact that he has already fired former FBI Director James Comey for “this Russia thing” (in Trump’s own words), it is probable that he might do something similar with Robert Mueller.
“There’s no overstating the threat to our Republic if Mueller is fired,” Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, tweeted on Sunday.
Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state for democracy in the State Department, tweeted the “rule of law in America is about to be tested.”
“If Mueller is fired, then does rule of law matter at all anymore or only personal loyalty, public flattery and private gain?” tweeted Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney who was fired by Trump.
In the case of a constitutional crisis when and if Donald Trump does fire Mueller, Americans plan to march in multiple cities in 48 American states. MoveOn.org, a political action group, wrote on its website that America faces a stiff test of its institutions and principles, and in case president Trump uses his executive power to throttle the Russia investigation, it must spark a rapid response from people all over the country.
“This would be a constitutional crisis for our country. It would demand an immediate and unequivocal response to show that we will not tolerate abuse of power from Donald Trump.
“Our response in the minutes and hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next, and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him.
“That’s why we’re preparing to hold emergency ‘Nobody is Above the Law’ rallies around the country in the event they are needed.”
America’s constitutionality hangs in the balance, but in case there is a crisis, Americans have already started to make plans to storm the streets and hold the institutions and leaders accountable all over the country. And in a democracy, that could only be a good thing.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]