Firing of Sessions ‘triggers’ protest
MICHIGAN CITY – Don Briggs called the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Donald Trump on Wednesday the “trigger event.”
What it triggered was a series of protests across the nation Thursday night, including a group of about 50 people who gathered at U.S. 12 and Franklin Street with signs reading “Resist” and “No one is above the law.”
“MoveOn mapped out a strategy in December 2017 to line up local events to be ready for a trigger event to spur local action,” Briggs said. “This event went online in August and last night we received notice of the trigger event, the firing of Sessions.
“We put the word out and got several sign-ups, and as the news developed, we added more. About half of these people were not even aware of the event this morning.”
Trump replaced Sessions with Matthew Whitaker, who has been openly critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and whether any Trump campaign workers were involved.
Despite calls from Democrats in Washington and others in the Justice Department, he has said he would not recuse himself from the investigation as Sessions did. Sessions recusal had drawn the ire of Trump.
“We need to raise awareness,” Briggs said. “There is a parallel here with Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’.”
In that October 1973 incident, the president asked the two top officials in the Justice Department to fire Watergate special counsel Archibald Cox. Both refused and resigned before the third-ranking official in the department did fire him.
Deborah Chubb, a member of the Michigan City Area Schools Board, said MoveOn has been preparing for local action since that “terrible night in November 2016” when Trump was elected.
“I went online today and re-researched the Nixon firing of Cox. He got away with it for a while, but in the end, it energized public pressure and he eventually had to resign.
“But he didn’t just do it, it took an outraged public to make it happen. He only left because people came out and demanded the president be held accountable.”
Briggs said that is the goal here, to make sure the Mueller probe continues.
“We have to hold elected officials accountable,” he said, as the protesters chanted “No one is above the law” and “This is what democracy looks like.”
Briggs said “legislation was drafted to protect the investigation, but that legislation got waylaid. We’re out here tonight to let our officials and the public know we won’t let that happen to the investigation.”
Chubb called the protest the result of “two years of organizing coming to fruition. People are ready now.”
As passing motorists honked their horns in agreement, she urged passers-by to sign petitions.
“We all need to contact our congressmen and senators to make sure Trump does not get away with this,” Chubb said, “and that they don’t just walk off with our democracy.”