Flashback: Anti-Trump Activists Rally to ‘Protect Mueller’ from President’s ‘Corruption’

Save Mueller Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Not only did Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation find that President Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians ahead of the 2016 presidential election, but he did not obstruct the investigation itself, even as anti-Trump activists held “protect Mueller” rallies.

Led by leftist groups like MoveOn.org, Indivisible, Common Cause and People for the American Way, activists protested after Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped down and Trump tapped his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to take over until Congress confirmed a replacement.

Vox reported on the rallies on Nov. 9, 2018, with a subhead that read, “We’re Not a Mob, We [sic] Just Like Bob.”

Thousands of protesters assembled across the country on Thursday night to show support for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Whitaker, formerly Sessions’ chief of staff, is considered a Trump loyalist. He’s also expressed skepticism about the Mueller investigation, and publicly mused about ways to curtail its reach.

Trump’s decision to appoint Whitaker and pass over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the No. 2 person at the DOJ, who previously headed up the Mueller investigation — has raised fears that the president is finally moving to stymie an investigation he’s long opposed.

Vox reported that the crowd in Times Square in New York City were chanting “Nobody is Above the Law” and “Hands Off Mueller.”

“This is no witch hunt,” a deep state protester who works at the Department of Homeland Security, told Vox. “I wish I could take it as a foregone conclusion that the shuffle of AG’s was benign; I do not. Robert Mueller’s investigation strengthens America. It must continue.”

Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT) said they were proposing legislation to protect Mueller, according to Vox.

“The about 900 protests Thursday are part of a coordinated effort by a large number of liberal groups who came together and for months have been planning a ‘rapid response’ to protect Mueller,” USA Today reported on Nov. 8, 2018.

“Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation,” the Rapid Response website said. “Our hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice.”

“Organizers say the naming of Whitaker is a ‘deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation,’” USA Today reported.

USA Today included in its report that attorneys general in 18 states sent a letter asking for a recusal from Whitaker, who held the post until Congress recently confirmed William Barr as Attorney General. 

“Because a reasonable person could question your 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 read.

“Whitaker’s appointment as the top law enforcement chief in the country came without approval from the Senate, which Patricia Klingenberg, who organized Cincinnati’s rally, said is ‘probably unconstitutional,’” USA Today reported.

At a rally in Burlington, Vermont, protesters chanted, “Let Bob do his job” and “Two, four, six eight! We want Mueller to investigate.”

“The integrity of our system, the rule of law itself, depends on this freedom from political pressure,” Eugene Bergman, a recently retired Burlington assistant city attorney, told the crowd. “When the political boss exerts or tries to exert control of a prosecutor, it is an act of corruption.”

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