President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is prompting thousands of Americans to take to the streets on Thursday evening.
Progressive organization MoveOn.org had planned for quite some time to hold emergency protests if Trump took any action that would jeopardize the Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
That investigation is looking into how Russia interfered in our elections in 2016, which has brought about questions of Trump’s presidential campaign and whether individuals from that effort unlawfully coordinated with Russia to steer the outcome toward a Trump victory. The special counsel is also likely pondering whether any actors in the Trump administration, including the president himself, may have obstructed justice in trying to impede the investigation’s efforts, reported CNBC in July.
Protests were set to happen if Trump took steps that would change the chain of command in the investigation, according to reporting from Quartz. Until yesterday, Mueller’s investigation was overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had made assurances that it would continue unimpeded under his watch.
With Sessions’ removal from his position in the administration, however, and with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker assuming the role of supervising the inquiry, organizers deemed the protests necessary to commence at various locations across the country, at 5 p.m. local time of the place of the protest (a list of locations is available at MoveOn’s Nobody Is Above The Law website).
MoveOn is partnering with hundreds of activist groups across the country to carry out the protests. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, the event is being co-hosted by Women’s March-WI and is planned to commence outside the state capitol building.
Amy Dean, communications director of that local organization, explained why it was necessary to carry out the protest.
“Trump’s actions — violating the independence of the investigation pursuing criminal charges in the Trump-Russia scandal and cover-up — pose a grave threat to our democracy, and we have got to get Congress to stop him,” Dean explained in an email to the Inquisitr. “[W]e will communicate unmistakably that this is not okay and that this act to undermine democracy is not going to be allowed to become a new normal.”
Dean also expressed skepticism about the new attorney general who was stepping in to oversee Mueller’s inquiry.
Trump “essentially replaced Mueller’s old boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with a new boss, Matthew G. Whitaker, who has no problem intervening and obstructing justice,” Dean said, adding that Whitaker “has spoken in great detail about ways to hurt the Mueller investigation.”
Some have questioned whether Whitaker can legally take over supervisory duties that were held by Rosenstein. The blog site Lawfare, for example, points out that Whitaker’s appointment may not be constitutional, and he may not be able to direct the Department of Justice to take certain actions since he was not approved with the “advice and consent” of the Senate, as is required by the Constitution. Whitaker may also have to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe, given his past negative comments and viewpoints on the matter.