Arizonans showed their support for the Robert Mueller investigation on Nov. 8, 2018, at the Arizona state Capitol.
Dani Coble, Arizona Republic
Dozens of Arizonans joined a nationwide protest Thursday evening to support special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The protests outside the Arizona state Capitol and around the nation came a day after President Donald Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and named Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, to the post.
Activists joined together to support protecting the Mueller investigation, which many fear will be affected by Whitaker’s appointment.
Whitaker has voiced his opposition to the investigation.
Protesters held up premade signs that read, “Trump is not above the law,” and a variety of homemade signs.
Deedra Abboud, an attorney and civil rights activist, said the country has been dependent on laws they believed were in place to protect people from taking advantage of their positions in office. She said the Trump administration is demonstrating that the laws are not as “black and white” as people thought.
“Honestly, if we don’t protect the Department of Justice and investigations, then it’s just not about whether or not this administration has done something,” Abboud said, “It’s whether or not we can prevent another administration from taking advantage.”
Protesters chanted the words “Impeach,” “USA” and “This is what democracy looks like” as individuals took turns at a bullhorn sharing their reasons for protesting.
Whitaker has faced criticism over past statements about the scope of the Mueller investigation. Statements include saying the Justice Department could choke off funding for the office, which would lead to the inquiry’s slow death.
He’s also said Mueller would be crossing a “red line” if he examined the Trump family’s finances.
On Thursday, USA TODAY reported that attorneys general from 18 states sent a request to Whitaker, asking he recuse himself from the investigation due to his previous comments.
“It feels like we are going to this place where the president is twisting ever little thing by slow turn … turning us into something else and it is scaring me,” said Teri Sarmiento, one of the speakers at the Phoenix protest. “I am scared for my rights. I am scared for my family. I am scared for my country.”
“And I am just wondering, ‘Where does this end?'”
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