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Within hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced out of office by the Trump administration, about 1,000 people gathered for a “Nobody is Above the Law Rapid Response Protest” on Nov. 8 at Raymond Park, at Chicago Avenue and Lake Street. Organized by Indivisible Evanston, the rally and march were initiated to protest President Trump’s firing of Mr. Sessions and appointment of Trump loyalist Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. Mr. Whitaker, who has publicly criticized the Mueller investigation, is now in position to oversee the probe, from which Mr. Sessions had recused himself.
Eight speakers, including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Mayor Stephen Hagerty, answered Indivisible Evanston’s call to join members of the group and fellow concerned citizens from Evanston and nearby communities in sending a message to the president that “Nobody is above the law.” Congresswoman Schakowsky voiced her concerns about President Trump’s possible interference with the Mueller inquiry. “This is about the rule of law. It is very clear that Donald Trump crossed a red line when he fired his attorney general,” the Congresswoman said in her impassioned speech.
Other speakers who inspired the crowd with messages in support of taking a stand for democracy included Pastor Grace Imathiu of First United Methodist Church, Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet Synagogue, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore and Commissioner-elect Cam Davis, local MoveOn activist Karla Thomas and Dan Coyne of Indivisible Evanston.
Those who attended the Evanston rally were among an estimated 100,000 people nationwide who responded to texts and emails with details on their nearest “Nobody is above the law” protest. Protesters across the country held “Protect Mueller” signs and demanded that Mr. Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into the the alleged collusion between the President’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
The campaign to protect special counsel Mueller in the event that Attorney General Sessions was fired by the president was planned months earlier by various organizations, including the Indivisible Project, MoveOn and Women’s March. President Trump had publicly expressed his ire when Mr. Sessions recused himself in 2017 from involvement in the Russia investigation, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Mueller. With the ouster of Mr. Sessions, Acting Attorney General Whitaker will decide whether to pass along any resulting evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the president to Congress for possible action. (The Justice Department has said that Mr. Whitaker, who formerly served as Mr. Sessions’ chief of staff, will not recuse himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation.)
The Indivisible Project, a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington D.C., was created as a response to the election of President Trump and has as its mission to lift up its local counterparts.
The local Indivisible Evanston group is dedicated to resisting the Trump agenda by working toward a fairer, more inclusive, more diverse community, and is committed to non-violence in all of its actions, according to a description on the Evanston Public Library’s website.