Roughly 100 residents from La Crosse and surrounding areas gathered despite cold temperatures at West Avenue and Main Street against a backdrop American flags and signs and chanted “Trump is not above the law” Thursday evening.
The demonstration took place as a rapid response event after the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday. His resignation came after months of public criticism from President Donald Trump after Sessions’ recusal from the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.
Megan Grinde, 32, who volunteered to host the event in La Crosse in August 2017 through MoveOn.org said she was worried as soon as Jeff Sessions announced his resignation on Wednesday.
“I feel like reading between the lines on that is that it is an attempt to interfere with the Mueller investigation,” she said.
Area lawmakers noted that President Donald Trump’s appointment of an acting attorney general immediately following Sessions’ resignation must not interfere with the Mueller investigation.
“One of the truest principles of America’s legal system is that no person is above the law. The independence of the special counsel’s investigation must remain, and we must work together to protect its integrity,” Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, said in a statement.
Trump selected Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to serve as acting attorney general after Sessions’ resignation, an appointment that some fear could be problematic due to his public criticism of the special counsel.
“We knew the Sessions firing was coming; the problem is the replacement with Whitaker,” said Obbie King, 63. “It’s an illegal move because the acting attorney general has to be someone that has been vetted and approved by the Senate and, as chief of staff, he has not been vetted and approved by the Senate. The acting attorney general should be Rosenstein.”
According to Grinde, the event spanned the bipartisan spectrum as as attendees ranged from progressive to moderate to conservative.
“This is not a partisan issue, we have people here from all political stripes,” she said. “This is not about being anti-Trump, this is about protecting democracy from people who would interfere with American elections.”
Toni Vonruden, 61, echoed Grinde’s concerns and said her motivation for attending was to draw attention to the fact that the country is in trouble.