We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis.
For over a year now, the over 100 diverse organizations that make up the TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org coalition has been preparing hundreds of thousands of grassroots activists to take to the streets to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation should it come under attack by President Donald Trump.
These patriotic everyday Americans recognize that since the appointment of Mueller in May 2017 we have been on the razor’s edge of a constitutional crisis. Now such a crisis has arisen, and the results show that the tireless preparation over the past year has paid off, allowing an effective response to the needs of this emergency. At over 1,000 events across the country, over 100,000 citizens dedicated to the rule of law gathered to protest the elevation of Trump’s lackey Matthew Whitaker to Acting Attorney General, thereby hijacking oversight of the Mueller investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The members of TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org all agreed to mobilize if a red line was crossed, and this was definitively that moment. The administration may have though that the grassroots would be too exhausted by the election only one night earlier to summon the energy to fight back, but the massive turnout at protests across the country on Thursday night proved they were dead wrong. Trump underestimated the tenacity of democracy’s defenders.
On Thursday night, we proved that every minute of deliberation and planning was worth it. After Trump elevated Whitaker to Acting Attorney General, it didn’t take long for the grassroots to realize how unacceptable Whitaker is as an overseer of this investigation: his elevation by Trump raised questions about whether he was compromised, about his sketchy ethical history, and even about whether his role as Acting Attorney General was constitutionally defensible.
In response, the coalition turned on a dime, proving that the short notice would not deter us. Only one night after Whitaker was elevated, and only two nights after an election for which many of the coalition’s RSVPs, hosts, and member organizations had spent weeks or months organizing and tirelessly getting out the vote, we still showed up. The coalition’s dedicated members recognized the need to defend democracy, no matter how inconvenient the timing. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said it well, when she remarked that these activists recognized that “sometimes citizenship requires overtime and double shifts.”
The results were stunning. At rallies held in cities across the country—from red states to blue, from urban areas to rural ones, from the coasts to the Heartland and everywhere in between—over 100,000 patriotic Americans showed up to protest the nakedly obstructive promotion of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to oversee the Mueller investigation.
These rallies were a sonic boom that resonated across the country. Taking notice of the remarkable display of activism, media outlets from national ones like MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, CBS News and NBC News to local outlets like the Arizona Republic, Tampa Bay Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Des Moines Register (to name just a few) covered the rallies as a groundbreaking story that they were.
As a member organization, Public Citizen is extremely proud of and grateful for the hard work and the contribution of so many dedicated and talented patriots at all levels.
In the coming days, we will need your help to make demands of Congress and the Department of Justice among other crucial next steps. If you have not already, you can sign up at TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org now to be kept in the loop of actions you can take to defend our democracy from an authoritarian attack from within.
As we proved with last week’s events, if we take a stand and demonstrate the full might of what an engaged and concerned public can do, we will win.