Activists gather in Decatur Square to support Robert Mueller, protest firing of Jeff SessionsPam Winslow, of Avondale Estates, protests at the gazebo in Decatur Square on Thursday, November 8, 2018. The protest is in response to Jeff Sessions being fired and Whitaker being installed. Photo by Rebecca Breyer
By Sara Amis, contributor
Protesters gathered in downtown Decatur on Nov. 8 to protest both the firing of Jeff Sessions as United States Attorney General and his replacement by acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker.
The majority of the crowd huddled under the gazebo to get out of the drizzle and hear remarks from Margaret Arnett of Indivisible GA 04, who helped organize the event.
“Tonight, we are here to talk about the Mueller investigation, and we are not going to stand for what is happening,” she said. “They have crossed a red line.”
She went on to describe the appointment of Matt Whittaker as “unconstitutional. He has never been confirmed by the Senate. His appointment is illegal, which means that anything he does or tries to do is invalid.”
Arnett took time to mention, “members of our free press…who have had their press credentials revoked for doing their job and asking the tough questions,” alluding to the revocation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass.
Asked why the protest was happening, Arnett said, “This is the break the glass moment. It has been in the planning stages for a year and a half, ever since Trump started threatening Sessions.”
Protesters made it clear that they did not support or agree with Jeff Sessions in general, but “he did the ethical thing and recused himself,” said Susan Csikos, which in turn protected Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
“That clearly ticked Trump off, which makes it look all the more suspicious,” Csikos said. “Why doesn’t he want someone who is good at his job?”
“[Sessions] was our guard rail between Trump being able to get to [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein and therefore get to Mueller.” said Arnett. “Whittaker has openly said that the Special Counsel should not be investigating.”
“He’s obviously warming up to fire Mueller,” Csikos added. “And he can’t. It would create a Constitutional crisis. If we’re not paying attention that Constitutional crisis will happen, and it will become normalized. We can’t let it happen.”
“No one is going to let me appoint the detective investigating me if I’m suspected of committing a crime,” said Fiona Leonard. “So why should the highest authority in the land and the person with the most responsibility in the United States be able to get away with that?”
Many protesters expressed a sense of urgency.
“History is made by those who show up,” Csikos said. “If I’m talking about this 20 years from now, I don’t want to talk about this moment and say, yeah I stayed in and watched Netflix.”
R. J. Berry echoed concerns about Matt Whittaker and his influence on Mueller’s investigation.
“It’s a desperate moment,” Berry said. “Especially before the new Congress is sworn in, there’s tremendous potential for mischief to occur.”
Summer Munger said, “If Mueller doesn’t get to finish his investigation, that’s the end of democracy for us as far as I’m concerned.”