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Jeff Sessions

'Trump is not above the law': Protesters across US call for Russia probe to be protected

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been replaced by a Trump loyalist who has criticised the investigation.

PROTESTERS ACROSS THE US have called for the protection of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Russia Probe Protests Protesters march through Times Square in New York City. Mary Altaffer Mary Altaffer

Several hundred demonstrators gathered in New York’s Times Square yesterday and chanted slogans including “Hands off Mueller” and “Nobody’s above the law” before marching downtown.

p Thousands of people attended a protest in Portland, Oregon. John Rudoff / SIPA USA/PA Images John Rudoff / SIPA USA/PA Images / SIPA USA/PA Images

In Chicago, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin joined several hundred protesters at Federal Plaza.

Large crowds – some in the thousands – also turned out at the White House and in Greensboro, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas and many other places.

Russia Probe Protests Protesters gather in front of the White House in Washington DC. Andrew Harnik / AP Andrew Harnik / AP / AP

Organisers said the naming of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General is a “deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation”.

Jeff Sessions 

Trump asked for Jeff Sessions’ resignation earlier this week and replaced him with Whitaker, his chief of staff. 

Trump Russia Probe Cary Garrett (left) and Leslie Thomasson with blows up a 'Baby Trump' balloons at a protest in Chattanooga, Tennessee. C.B. Schmelter / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP C.B. Schmelter / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

Sessions’ axing capped more than a year of bitter criticism by the president over his legal advisor’s decision to recuse himself from the probe into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, paving the way for the appointment of Mueller.

Alarm bells 

Whitaker’s appointment set off immediate alarm bells: Whitaker has been overtly critical of the broad scope granted to Mueller’s team to probe beyond allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in 2016, into other ties between Trump, his family and aides, and Russia — an investigation the president has called a “witch hunt”.

law Myla Johnson holds a sign in protest against President Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Dallas, Texas). Jaime Carrero / Zuma Press/PA Images Jaime Carrero / Zuma Press/PA Images / Zuma Press/PA Images

Democrats, who regained control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, have sharply criticised the move. 

“The rule of law is disappearing before our eyes,” tweeted Sally Yates, a deputy attorney general under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and briefly in the top job under Trump before he sacked her.

“He wants a political crony to protect him from the investigation of his own campaign,” she said.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2018 and Órla Ryan 

Associated Foreign Press
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