A group of 40 people rallied in front of Galveston’s federal courthouse Thursday evening carrying homemade signs that said “Stop Trump” and chanting “Protect Mueller.”
The group was the local branch of a national effort to protest the firing of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — and a show of support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“No one is above the law, not the president, not anyone,” Lyssa Graham, who organized the protest, said about President Donald Trump. “These steps that he’s taken show that he thinks he’s above the law.”
Trump fired Sessions, who had been attorney general for two years, on Wednesday, a day after the midterm elections. Trump replaced Sessions with Matthew Whitaker, a former Sessions aide who has been publicly critical of the Mueller investigation into claims of Russian meddling during the 2016 election.
Sessions had famously recused himself from the Mueller investigation, and some groups have said his firing amounts to interference in the probe.
MoveOn.org, a national progressive political action group, began organizing “rapid response” protests over potential interference in the Mueller probe last year.
Galveston’s protest was organized through the MoveOn program, Graham said.
Protesters said they were helping raise an alert analogous to a “if you see something, say something” warning in an airport.
“I think we’re in a constitutional crisis,” said Susan P. Baker, a former district court judge. “If we let Trump get away with haphazardly firing whoever, we really are losing all our rights.”
During the first half hour of the event, some cars honked as they drove by, in apparent support of the cause. One man stopped his car to yell “Trump 2020” at the group before driving off.
MoveOn announced Wednesday evening that Session’s firing, and the appointment of Whitaker as a interim attorney general, amounted to a threat to the investigation and triggered the rapid response protests.
Large gatherings of protestors were reported in New York City and Washington D.C. MoveOn advertised about 900 protests on its organizing website.
Graham said about 100 people had signed up to be alerted to the rapid protest. About half that many showed up. She said she wasn’t discouraged by the turnout.
“Next time there will be 60 and the time after that there will be 200,” she said. “What matters is that we show up.”