More than 100,000 Americans from all 50 states have pledged to stage mass protests should President Donald Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller before the former FBI director’s probe into alleged Russian interference in last year’s election, and possible collusion by the Trump campaign to facilitate that interference, is complete.
“Our response in the minutes and hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next, and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him,” reads TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org, a website run by MoveOn.org where Americans can sign up to join one of nearly 600 planned protests across the country.
While conservative attacks on Mueller have geared up in recent days, Trump has denied that he has any plans to dismiss Mueller as he did former FBI director James Comey earlier this year.
Despite the denials from the White House, however, the promises for immediate action speaks to the widespread acknowledge that Trump has a steady habit of not keeping his word.
Speaking of the rumors swirling on Capitol Hill of Trump’s plan to fire the special counsel later this week after Congress leaves for its holiday recess, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said such a move would trigger intensified efforts to impeach the president.
“That is Saturday massacre 2.0,” she said, alluding to President Richard Nixon’s firing of the special prosecutor who was investigating him. “Without a doubt there would be an impeachment effort.”
“Reminiscent of Watergate, conservative attacks on Mueller are a clear effort to pave the way to prematurely end the special counsel investigation—possibly through a late-night decision made during the holidays when the nation’s attention is diverted,” warned the government watchdog group Public Citizen in a press release on Monday.
Right-wing operatives and pundits have raised questions about an anti-Trump bias on Mueller’s investigative team—zeroing in on text messages sent during the 2016 campaign in which two FBI employees were critical of Trump. The employees were both dismissed from the investigation last summer, even though their actions did not violate any government rules.
Fox News commentators including Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson have relentlessly pushed the narrative that the investigation is “tainted,” while some members of Congress have begun floating the possibility of Mueller’s dismissal. Republican representatives Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis, both of Florida, have both sought to limit or end Mueller’s probe.
“If Trump were to fire Special Counsel Mueller, he would launch a constitutional crisis,” said Elizabeth Beavers, policy manager for Indivisible, in a statement on Monday. “Activists are prepared to immediately mobilize to defend our democracy and protect the rule of law. The American people will not tolerate this obstruction of justice, and neither should Congress.”
Critics have also become concerned in recent days over reports that Trump is dissatisfied with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, calling him “weak” and a threat to his presidency. By dismissing Rosenstein, wrote Asha Rangappa at Slate on Monday, Trump could interfere with Mueller’s investigation without firing him.
“Removing Rosenstein and replacing him with a DAG who is at the very least more sympathetic to Trump could have drastic repercussions for the investigation,” she wrote. “The new DAG could burden the special counsel with a requirement to provide an explanation for every move he makes and then decide that they aren’t necessary or appropriate…A new DAG would even have the ultimate, er, trump card: She could decide at some point that the investigation should not even continue at all.”
On social media, Americans have posted in recent days about their own concerns over Trump’s potential interference with the Mueller probe, conservatives’ attempts to undermine the inquiry, and their plans to taker action in the event of Rosenstein’s or Mueller’s dismissal.
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When Fox News is suggesting Mueller is engaging in a coup against President Trump, that’s not providing “coverage.” It’s called propaganda.
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) December 18, 2017
I’m not being an alarmist here. This is preparation not prediction.
If Trump fires Mueller it will be incumbent on all of us – ALL of us – to take to the streets in mass protest.
That would be an all-hands-on-deck moment. It would be the moment when democracy is saved or lost.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) December 18, 2017
If Trump fires Mueller, my kids are getting a road trip to D.C. for Christmas this year.
Also packs of Sharpie’s and poster board for making protest signs on the way up.
— Aღanda (@GrnEyedMandy) December 16, 2017