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Sessions protest in downtown Seattle
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Hundreds of protesters gather in downtown Seattle after Sessions’ firing

(Michael Spears, KIRO 7)

In the wake of Jeff Sessions resigning from his post as Attorney General, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Seattle and across the nation in protest of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who is stepping into the role.

Photos: Rallies across the country

Seattle’s protest started with a rally at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill and made its way to the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building downtown. The protest route wound approximately a mile and a half through downtown Seattle. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal spoke at the event, as did Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of people here,” said KIRO 7 reporter on the ground, Essex Porter. “What I’m hearing right now is a lot of determination to be sure that President Trump knows that this part of America does not want him interfering with the Mueller investigation.”

“It is not rage, it is not anger, it is not fear — what I am feeling here is determination to defend their Constitution,” he added. The temperament of the protesters remains peaceful.

Jeff Session’s departure

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned Wednesday at the request of President Trump. Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker was then elevated to the position of acting Attorney General. The move sparked outrage from those who are concerned about Whitaker impeding the progress of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

With Whitaker now in charge of the Mueller investigation, MoveOn.org called for protests nationwide, including in Seattle.

“This unjustified firing undermines the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign,” the organization said in a news release. “‘Organizing groups would like to send the message that ‘no one is above the law.'”

AG controversy

When Sessions recused himself early on, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein took over as the head of the Mueller investigation. Whitaker’s new role, though, now ousts Rosenstein, and puts the new acting AG in charge.

The main concerns now stem from assumptions that Whitaker will either actively impede, or entirely end Mueller’s investigation into links between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian influence.

In a 2017 interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Whitaker said that he “can see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment, and that [the] Attorney General doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget so low that his investigation grinds almost to a halt.”

More recently, Whitaker published an editorial on CNN less than 24 hours before Sessions’ resignation, titled “Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far.”

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