Washington, DC- Thousands protested across the United States on Thursday to demand that President Donald Trump not impede Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The protests come a day after Trump effectively fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a move many see as clearing the way for Trump to go after Mueller.
The president’s decision to replace Sessions with an even more devoted loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, in an acting capacity has drawn outrage from critics, including senior Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterms.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request
Sessions recused himself from overseeing a probe in March 2017, shortly after taking office.
The former Republican senator was active in the Trump campaign and had met twice with the Russian ambassador to the US.
Responsibility for the probe was then passed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, a former FBI director.
Trump saw the move as a betrayal and frequently and publicly criticised Sessions for making the decision to recuse himself.
Mueller’s probe has since reached plea deals with or indicted a number of Trump associates. They include his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
According to US media reports on Thursday, Mueller’s team have started writing the final report of the investigation.
Sessions’ interim replacement, his former chief of staff, Whitaker, has publicly criticised the Mueller probe for going beyond its remit. That has convinced many opponents of Trump that the president has Mueller in his crosshairs.
In theory, Whitaker could order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation or end it altogether.