Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation, at the insistence of President Donald Trump, prompted protests across the nation, including Pittsburgh.
The crowd in downtown Pittsburgh covered a city block Thursday evening. Protesters stood in front of the City-County Building holding signs and chanting “No more lies, we want truth.” Protesters also inflated a giant chicken, mocking Trump.
Sessions was forced to resign on Wednesday, just after the midterm election. Taking his place is acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. The move has many protesters concerned about the future of the Russia investigation.
Whitaker, who has been called a “Trump loyalist,” will have oversight of the investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election; the inquiry is being run by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Speakers encouraged the crowd to call their Congressmen and legislators.
“Tell them that we want this investigation to continue by this professional, wonderful lawyer who believes in our country,” Karen Hochberg of Indivisible Pittsburgh said to the crowd.
Mykie Reidy of Partners for Progress SWPA said Whitaker must recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
“And if he doesn’t do this, he should be disbarred for violating the ethics of his profession,” Reidy said. “We have a message for Congress as well: Do your job.”
Reidy noted that Thursday was the two-year anniversary of the election of Trump, a reminder that prompted boos from the crowd.
“What happened that day might have felt like something out of the blue, but it wasn’t,” Reidy said. “White supremacy is not new, voter suppression is not new, anti-Semitism is not new and misogyny is as old as the written word.”
Marie Norman of Order of the Phoenix said Trump is using time after the midterm election to his advantage.
“Donald Trump is using this moment when many of us are tired and preoccupied after a hard-fought election to scuttle the Mueller investigation before Democrats gain control of the House,” she said. “Trump is hoping we’ll be too tired and too distracted to notice.”
Pittsburgh was just one of hundreds of protests across the country, coordinated by a large number of liberal groups who had been planning a “rapid response” to protect Mueller.
The protesters vowed to keep the Trump administration accountable throughout his term.