AG Jeff Sessions resigns, protestors rally in E.L. against his replacement
On Nov. 7, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that Matthew Whitaker, chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would become the new acting Attorney General after Sessions' resignation.
“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date,” President Trump said in the tweet.
Whitaker will take over the duties of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump, and Russia's role in the 2016 elections. Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the investigation, while Rosenstein — who oversaw Mueller in Sessions' place — had thus far refused to let Trump influence the probe's scope.
Session's resignation — which came at Trump's request — has stirred up controversy. Critics point to Whitaker's past statements as evidence of a desire to work with Trump to influence the Mueller investigation.
“There is no obstruction of justice because the President has all the power of the executives and delegates that to people like the FBI director and the attorney general, the President could, and has in our nation’s history, said stop investigating this person or please investigate this other person,” Whitaker said in an interview on the David Webb Show.
Protests were held around the country, as well as in Europe and Canada, on Nov. 8, against Sessions' resignation and Whitaker's appointment. East Lansing's protest, one of 28 in Michigan, took place at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road. From 5 to 6 p.m., speakers shared their views and experiences with an estimated 300 people.
“It makes me feel less scared,” Rachel Savage said when asked about the event and its turn out.
“I’m here for my children. It’s a good start,” Christopher Hoyt said.
“There’s just a feeling you have in your gut when something is wrong," Juan Marinez said. "This goes against what my parents taught me to value, what my colleagues value, what I’ve taught my kids to value. If I don’t stand up, how will my kids learn to speak up.”
In the middle of rush hour, drivers honked their horns in support of the peaceful protesters with messages on their signs. People young and old came out to support the protest.
“I’m an old lady for democracy,” Anne Poqut-Howard said when she took the bullhorn.
“I marched two years ago, at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. … This is ridiculous,” Nadia Tyson, who voted for the first time in the midterm elections, said about Trump’s actions. “We need to stand up and fight back.”
“We bought our ticket on Tuesday. We need to break the power of the wicked,” Rabbi Michael Zimmerman said when it came to exercising the right to vote. “We need to stand up for justice. His mouth is full of deceit and fraud.”
“If the people in the highest office won’t respect the Constitution, we have to do our duty. We need to get rid of this mess,” Nichole Biber said while holding up a “Cheater in Chief” sign.
Anna Fisher organized the East Lansing protest, which was put on by the MOVE ON Organization.
“I’m exhausted. I worked my ass off for the elections for months and months, and finally, we had a chance to rest, but no. The timing of this was deliberate," Fisher said. "Trump traffics in cruelty, and it was cruel to announce this when we worked so hard on the elections.”
Fisher said that about 1,500 people replied to the event’s online page, and about 300 people showed up.
“The sentiment among my friends, neighbors and relatives is that we’re all in this together," Fisher said. "Yes, we’re exhausted from two years in the Trump era, but we’re going to fight every step of the way, and we’re not going to let our democracy be stolen.”