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Franklin County activists move to protect Mueller probe

  • Robert Mueller on February 16, 2011, as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.  File photo

  • MAX MARCUS



Staff Writer
Thursday, November 08, 2018

 

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Common was filled Thursday night with people holding signs and clamoring about President Trump’s replacement of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matthew Whitaker, who has publicly criticized the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

Members of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, the Greenfield-based progressive political activist group that organized the demonstration, were handing out posters with the slogan “No one is above the law,” asking local businesses to put them in their windows. Local political organizers gave speeches.

“We are facing, in effect, a coup,” said Ferd Wulkan, an FCCPR Coordinating Committee member.

Greenfield’s gathering, which attracted scores of protesters, was one of hundreds around the country and in every state, including 46 in Massachusetts, called by MoveOn.org, an organization that supports progressive political movements, in response to Trump’s personnel changes.

According to MoveOn.org, the protest is demanding that Whitaker recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“We will not stand quietly on the sidelines if the president tries to obstruct justice,” said Greenfield City Councilor Otis Wheeler, one of the people who took the microphone to speak.

Wheeler encouraged Greenfield to oppose Trump in spirit by opposing his xenophobic rhetoric. “We as a community of progressives have had the privilege to be insulated from so many different kinds of injustice,” he said. “Let's continue as progressives and as Democrats to be the party of inclusion. Let’s continue to show up to defend democracy and let’s keep fighting.”

The protests – including the one on the Greenfield Common that began in 5 p.m. twilight – come in response to President Trump installing his longtime ally Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, taking over oversight of the Mueller investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The activists demand that Whitaker recuse himself given what they see as conflicts of interest expressed in previous statements attacking the Mueller investigation, suggesting how it might be undermined or terminated.

The protests come just one day after congressional Democrats won back control of the U.S. House on a promise to investigate the Trump administration and after President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from overseeing the Mueller probe because of his own conflicts – much to the president’s constant displeasure.