More than 400 people showed up at Bellevue’s Downtown Park on Nov. 8 to protest President Donald Trump’s firing of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
President Trump asked Sessions to resign last week after more than a year of attacking Sessions for the decision to recuse himself of an FBI investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Sessions was replaced by a staunch supporter of Trump, leading Democrats to question whether the replacement, Matthew Whitaker, would let the investigation continue.
Whitaker was chief of staff to Sessions and was appointed over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been heading U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The dismissal of Sessions has led some Congressional representatives to sponsor legislation protecting the investigation, including Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, The Hill reported last week.
Protesters gathered across the country on Nov. 8 to voice concerns over whether Whitaker would interfere with the investigation. In Bellevue, a protest organized by MoveOn, Indivisible Eastside and other community organizations gathered in Bellevue’s Downtown Park. Protesters carried signs showing support for Mueller and balloons of Trump as a crying baby in diapers.
Organizers from MoveOne thanked people for coming out. In their statements, they said protecting Mueller was paramount and they hoped by coming out in protest they could protect his investigation. They urged people to call their representatives and talk with their neighbors.
Local Eastside community organizer Maria Rosero said she came out because of Trump’s actions.
“We feel that this administration crossed the line when they fired Sessions,” she said. “We are here to protect our Constitution. We are here to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
Protesters held signs along Northeast Fourth Street and Bellevue Way Northeast. Several drivers passing by honked in support while others yelled at protesters. One sign read “Trump is not above the law,” while others were not as restrained, at least one referring to one of the President’s alleged scandals.
Angela Stefanski was protesting along Northeast Fourth Street and said she came out after paying attention to MoveOne’s website and seeing a call to action.
“I was not about to not come,” she said. “This is a real important time… the one thing Sessions did right was recuse himself.”
Others, including Eric Heutchy said they were worried Whitaker would damage the investigation. Bellevue residents were not alone in protesting on Nov. 8 — other gatherings occurred in Seattle, Kirkland and Issaquah.
The Associated Press reported Sessions’s resignation came a day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and was an expected dismissal.
The current investigation has led to 32 criminal charges and guilty pleas from four former Trump aids, the AP reported.
After the Democrats took a majority in the House of Representatives on the Nov. 6 election, it is likely that dozens of investigations into the Trump administration will begin, The New Yorker reported. Democrats also have expressed interest in obtaining Trump’s tax records through the House’s subpoena power, emails between Trump’s team and Russians and the Trump Company’s internal finance documents.