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After President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and named as his temporary replacement Matthew Whitaker—a Trump loyalist who argued in an opinion piece last year that the Russia probe has gone “too far”—progressive advocacy groups urged Americans to prepare to take to the streets amid warnings that Trump could move to terminate Special Counsel Robert Mueller next.
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org, advised the 400,000 people in over 900 cities across the U.S. to keep an eye on the website for information and updates on rapid response protests in the event that Trump attempts to fire Mueller or shut down his probe.
“This may be the first step in President Trump’s attempt to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said in a statement after Sessions’ ouster on Wednesday. “Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to continue the investigation without interference from Acting Attorney General Whitaker. Whitaker must assure the continued protection of the investigation immediately.”
“Trump fires his attorney general. We all know where this is heading.”
According to CBS, Whitaker—who previously served as Sessions’ chief of staff—will now be in charge of overseeing the Russia probe, which was previously supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Sessions recused himself.
Given Whitaker’s past criticism of the Mueller investigation—which included a proposal to reduce Mueller’s “budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt”—legal experts and activists warned that the Sessions firing could be Trump’s opening salvo in a broader effort to undermine the Russia investigation.
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“Trump’s plan, starting now: Fire Sessions, fire Rosenstein, then fire Mueller. Suppress Mueller investigation,” argued University of California Berkeley professor Robert Reich. “Sessions is out because Trump wants to fire Mueller and suppress the Mueller investigation before the Democratic House can get its hands on it. Message to House Democrats: Get all you can of it. Now. Message to Mueller: Get it to them. Now.”
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