Hundreds of Bay Area activists and politically concerned citizens rallied in front of San Francisco City Hall to proclaim that “Nobody is Above the Law” on Thursday Nov. 8.
The residents joined citizens rallying under the same banner in Washington, New York, Boston and elsewhere in the nation to protest President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the new U.S. attorney general.
Outgoing Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned last week at Trump’s request after a year of being lambasted by Trump for recusing himself from an investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump election campaign and Russia.
Whitaker, the former attorney general chief of staff, has been very vocal about his disdain for the investigation.
The San Francisco demonstration was hosted by Indivisible SF, an organization committed to opposing of the Trump administration. Attendees were concerned that Sessions’ replacement will further drive the president’s efforts to shut down the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“They are going to actively try to shut down the investigation by any means that they can,” said Sarah Dizio, Indivisible SF member and designated event peacekeeper. “It will get more blatant and flagrant with time because they know they can get away with it. Who’s going to stop them?”
Protesters held banners and signs that read messages such as “Protect the Investigation,” “Need to Impeach” and “Hands Off Mueller.” Protestors expressed concern that Whitaker’s appointment signalled the beginning of the end for Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the election investigation.
Christine Pelosi, political strategist and daughter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, described Trump’s action as an act of “neuroticism … the art of appealing to the neurosis of a person.”
She referenced the recent confiscation of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials and an Infowars video tweeted out by the White House that was doctored to make it appear as though Acosta hit a young, female White House intern’s arm as she tried taking Acosta’s microphone away while he questioned the president during a press conference.
“What I hope is that people realize that our constitution is in crisis,” Pelosi told the Xpress. “That when the president fires the attorney general and puts in his chief of staff without the advice and consent of the Senate as the constitution requires, that we need to do everything we can to put pressure on the Senate to investigate.
“We have to put pressure on the BAR association to revoke his license, we have to put pressure on the courts by suing, joining the crew lawsuit.”
Additionally, Pelosi is pushing the message that the president cannot fire people investigating corruption in federal government.
SF State ‘78 alumna Laura Chinn-Smoot, a San Francisco resident and rally attendee, said her chief concern is that through Whitaker, Trump will feel empowered to end the investigation.
“I’m afraid for our country. With Jeff Sessions being out and Matt Whitaker coming in, you sit there and think: Trump’s next thing is he’s going to try and fire Mueller,” Chinn-Smoot said.
After speeches and songs of revolution, the gathering took to the streets marching from Civic Center to Market Street chanting and holding banners.