Hundreds Rally For Mueller

Thomas Breen photoHundreds of protesters rallied on the New Haven Green against the president’s dismissal of the country’s attorney general, calling the move a bold-faced attack on an independent government investigation and on the integrity of American democracy.

On Thursday at 5 p.m., around 300 protesters gathered at the corner of Elm Street and Church Street to sing, chant, boo, and jeer in response to President Donald Trump’s recent firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointment of Sessions’s chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, as the country’s new acting top law official.

“You are here because our democracy is under attack,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal told the crowd. “It is a ‘break the glass’ moment, and you are at the tip of the spear to make sure that we preserve the rule of law in the greatest country in the history of the world.”

The rally was organized by a slew of primarily suburban liberal advocacy groups that have popped up since Trump’s election in 2016, including Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible, Common Cause Connecticut, Orange Indivisible, and Action Together Connecticut.

Carol Rizzolo (pictured), an organizer with Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible, said that the New Haven rally was one of 10 happening throughout the state at exactly 5 p.m.. It was one of 900 similar protests scheduled to occur throughout the nation at that time, supported by the national liberal organizing group MoveOn.

“This is our ‘Nobody is Above the Law’ rally in response to the removal of Rosenstein and the threat to the Mueller investigation,” Rizzolo said, referencing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who up until Wednesday had been overseeing Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Now that Sessions, who was a supporter of some of Trump’s most conservative policies on immigration and criminal justice, is out, Whitaker has replaced Rosenstein as the arbiter of how the independent counsel’s office will be funded and what it will be allowed to investigate. Sessions had angered Trump from recusing himself from that investigation.

“This is all about protecting the exploring of what did Russia do in our elections,” Rizzolo continued, “and getting the meddling out of them. Obviously our president has chosen not to protect Bob Mueller, and the Congress hasn’t stepped up to do it either.”

In between 1960s-era protest song singalongs led by Cyd Slotoroff, a handful of Shoreline organizers, local lawyers, politicians and political representatives, and then protest attendees themselves took the microphone to share their concerns about Trump’s perceived attacks on democratic institutions.

“This investigation must conclude when it is complete,” said Jimmy Tickey, reading a statement from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, for whom he works as campaign manager. “Not when it is expedient for the president. No one is above the law.”

He reminded attendees that DeLauro, who is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the federal legislature’s Appropriations Committee now that Democrats control the House of Representatives, is the co-sponsor of two bills that would limit Trump’s ability to fire Mueller: the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act and the Special Counsel Transparency Act.

“We don’t want to do anything that can jeopardize the Russia investigation,” said Common Cause Connecticut Executive Director Cheri Quickmire. “This is a critical, critical thing going on in our democracy right now. If we let that go and if we let Matthew Whitaker [serve as acting attorney general], he will absolutely do everything he can to make sure that this goes down.”

Local attorney Alex Taubes said that the country’s political system rests on checks and balances. He said Trump’s appointment of Whitaker violates an important check that the independent counsel’s office has played and will play in its investigation of the president’s conduct while running for office.

“All across this state,” he said, “people are coming out because what President Trump did by firing the attorney general, by installing a crony, by installing someone who has not been confirmed by the Senate, by installing someone who is going to do his bidding, we are going to resist. We are going to say, ‘No one is above the law.’ We are going to say, ‘Donald Trump, you cannot violate our Constitution.’”

Blumenthal closed out the rally’s formal lineup of speakers, though the rally would continue further into the evening as various members of the crowd took the microphone and shared their own concerns and calls for protest.

“It is a sign of what is coming,” Blumenthal said about Trump’s firing of Sessions and appointment of Whitaker.

He said that the Trump administration learned something from the infamous Saturday Night Massacre, when on Oct. 20, 1973, then-President Richard Nixon dismissed his attorney general and fired his assistant attorney general for their refusals to fire the independent counsel investigating his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

What the administration has learned, Blumenthal said, is that one should attack Mueller’s independence over time, as opposed to all on one night.

“They’re doing it in slow motion to quell the fears,” he said.

But rest assured, he said: Whitaker has the blueprints and the intention to undermine the Mueller investigation, if given the chance.

Blumenthal said that he will introduce legislation that would stop any cut-off of funds to the independent counsel’s office, and that would require a publicly disclosed report if the special counsel is in any way limited in authority or fired.

He demanded Whitaker’s recusal from overseeing the special counsel investigation, his dismissal from the role of acting attorney general, and an investigation by the House into President Trump’s actions on the campaign trail two years ago.

Click on the Facebook Live video below to watch a portion of the rally.

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posted by: Noteworthy on November 8, 2018  11:09pm

You just have to laugh - nobody has fired Mueller. Sessions got fired. He should have been fired two years ago. This “investigation” into nothing is predicated on nothing, has found nothing - at least as has been publicly reported - and yet, these fine folks come all the way from the suburbs to our fine city to protest anyway. And of course - there’s our fine senator stoking fears, adding credence to the incredible and publicly fomenting division and animosity.

posted by: RobertaR on November 8, 2018  11:56pm

To Noteworthy: The investigation has so far produced Papadopolous: guilty. Gates: guilty. Manafort: guilty. Flynn: guilty. Pinedo: guilty. van der Zwaan: guilty. 33 Russian agents, including two companies: over 2 dozen charges, only reason no guilty plea is they are all outside American jurisdiction. The investigation has found plenty, and continues to find plenty. The above names are just those who have been indicted. It doesn’t include anyone who has been found to be involved, but not yet indicted. Including Trump’s son, whose arrest is forthcoming. Mueller’s investigation is rooting out the swamp people, and they are the current administration.

posted by: Noteworthy on November 9, 2018  5:37am

Robert - there are zero guilty pleas or even charges relating to collusion. The Americans charged with crimes face charges from years ago - or process grievances of lying to the FBI. The Russians are charged but will never be convicted and of course, Mueller knows that. None of that evidence has been tried in court. What we do know is that Clinton, Fusion and even the FBI funded, used the fake dossier as a reason to wiretap and launch the allegations to undermine the election.

Nobody as far as I know has indicated Mueller will be fired, won’t be able to finish his report - in fact, CNN was reporting that the Mueller team had begun to write its final report. Nobody has said they’re cutting his budget or will take his report, when finished and bury it. Which comes back around to this foolishness - so what are these people protesting and why is Blumenthal at the center of it? You have to laugh at this stuff and how they manufacture headlines with the help of people like Rachel Maddow and others who are so consumed with Trump hate and power, and getting more power - they’ll do the irrational. And the lemmings will follow because it appears they have nothing better to do.

posted by: Rich Pizzo on November 9, 2018  7:33am

Trump and the GOP authored and supplied the antisocial antiClinton memes -propaganda- and the Russians amplified those memes a million times at the American Public….

That is how it was done..

posted by: tmctague on November 9, 2018  7:45am

This is what gets my fellow Whites fired up?

The relative absence of people of color and poverty from the Shoreline and other wealthy suburban communities seems increasingly problematic.  Separation of families, mass incarceration, LGBTQ hate, Islamophobia, and White supremacy seem more troubling than the Russian investigations.  Bravo to action, but “meh” to the cause.

Mueller is “safer” than millions of Americans that have been persecuted, incarcerated, hated, and killed.  Anyone else have this reaction?  I know this comment may ruffle feathers, but I’d like to see sincere replies that address the concerns mentioned above.

posted by: JCFremont on November 9, 2018  8:00am

From the town that is overwhelmed with every “tight” election this is rich. I’m sure many of those same people protected Madame Clinton where out yesterday. I’m sure there where a few from the generation that the FBI was spying on them are now backing an investigation that was rife with Hoover type tactics. Planted moles, corrupt agents and an open ended investigation. Who is acting really acting like the KGB now?

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on November 9, 2018  8:11am

“The rally was organized by a slew of primarily suburban liberal advocacy groups”
—which is why it’s so laughable that these well-to-do, armchair liberals continue to influence the votes of down and out urban folks. But I totally understand. I mean, did you know that here in New Haven there actually are people who, well, I mean—aren’t white?!
“In between 1960s-era protest song singalongs”
—from a half century ago. This dramatically underscores why the majority of voters in CT and nationwide are now Unaffiliated (aka “independent”). 
Rosa DeLauro’s statement: “This investigation must conclude when it is complete.”
—Not to worry! The ONLY thing the House will accomplish over the next 2 years is Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena…
Cheri Quickmire: “We don’t want to do anything that can jeopardize the Russia investigation. This is a critical, critical thing”.
—Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena Russia subpoena…
“Alex Taubes said that the country’s political system rests on checks and balances”
—well, except in places like New Haven where there are NO “checks and balances” due to a half century of One Party rule.

posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  11:16am

Mueller would be protected if we had an Independent Counsel statute.  We don’t because Democrats pushed for its repeal after the Kenneth Starr investigation.  Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is about Russian “interference”.  As Trump says, it’s not like we don’t do this stuff, and worse, to other countries.  For years, our CIA funded the Italian Christian Democrats to forestall Communist electoral victories.  Obama supported the overthrow of an elected President in the Ukraine because he respected Russia,  and his Vicki Nuland was caught by Wikileaks dictating who would be in the Ukrainian cabinet. Not to mention the whole Arab Spring thing, or centuries of Central and South America, African, Asian etc., interventions.  All of which amount to much more than some Facebook posts and memes.

posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  11:20am

Just noticing that this group is supported by “MoveOn”..  The whole premise of Move On was that felonious perjury and sexual harassment by a President was no big deal, and that we should not impeach for such offenses, but just censure and “move on”.

posted by: Ulmus Civitas on November 9, 2018  12:10pm

what New Haven really needs are people protesting when our mayor or BoA increases taxes 11%, doles out raises to select officials, spends taxpayer money on lavish trips, eats at expensive restaurants on our dime, grants 20 year tax abatements to developers, and has had one party dominance for 50 odd years. as C.S., wrote, New Haven has absolutely no checks and balances in the BoA, as groupthink is thoughtless. is it any wonder we are suffering and on the brink of financial disaster?

posted by: Rich Pizzo on November 9, 2018  12:34pm

No Collussion…..

Trump and the GOP authored and supplied the antisocial anti-human antiClinton memes -propaganda- and the Russians amplified those memes a million times at the American Public….

That is how it was done..

did Trump need to know that the Russians would supply the ampification…. for there to be collusion

was their a Quid Pro Quo between Trump and the Russians for this “amplification”

Answer.. YES the Mueller investigation will prove this…

stay tuned….