November 12, 2018
Americans took to the streets at 5 p.m. on November 8—staging massive rallies from New York to Los Angeles in support of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose Russia investigation, they feared, might be curtailed or blocked completely following the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the request of President Donald Trump.
Approximately 900 protests nationwide were mobilized within moments. They stood ready to activate when and if the president “crossed a red line” that would threaten the probe.
According to a report by USA Today, the rallies were part of a coordinated effort by a large number of liberal groups, which had planned a “rapid response” to protect Mueller, if it became necessary.
The groups’ website, headlined “Nobody is above the law—Mueller protection rapid response,” referred to the appointment of interim Attorney General Matt Whitaker as the impetus for the protests, saying, “Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation.
“Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it. The Nobody Is Above the Law network demands that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation. Our hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice. “
President Trump, who embarked on a trip to Paris on November 9, has given no indication that he would end the investigation, which he has dubbed a “witch hunt.” But, USA Today reported, “the ousting of Sessions will give the president authority to replace him with someone who could attempt to derail the investigation, which is also examining possible obstruction of justice by the president.”
Also on November 8, attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia—Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut , Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, New Mexico, and Maryland—sent a formal letter to Whitaker requesting he recuse himself from the investigation due to his previous comments.
“Because a reasonable person could question you impartiality in the matter, your recusal is necessary to maintain public trust in the integrity of the investigation and to protect the essential and longstanding independence of the department you have chosen to lead,” the letter reads.
Research contact: CHayes@usatoday.com