Protestors held signs and chanted, “Two, four, six, eight, Mueller must investigate,” in front of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday, calling for protections to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
A crowd of about 200 residents from Yorba Linda and beyond voiced their discontent with Trump’s decision to appoint Matthew G. Whitaker as attorney general-designate at one of many Nobody is Above the Law rallies. Across the country, rallies like this were organized with many individuals expressing concern that the independence of the Mueller investigation would be threatened as a result of Whitaker’s position.
On Nov. 7, Whitaker was appointed by Trump following the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions at the president’s request. In the past, Whitaker has publicly criticized the Mueller investigation stating that the investigation into Russian collusion had gone “too far” and should have limitations imposed on it.
These critical remarks of Mueller have prompted outrage among Democrats and other individuals who are now calling on Whitaker to recuse himself.
“Whitaker definitely has a conflict of interest. I mean some of the pieces he’s put out about obstructing the Mueller probe and his objection to it before he’s been appointed to this position is just ridiculous,” said David Soloway, a protester who works in the medical sales industry.
A “rapid response” led by MoveOn, an organization that focuses on advocacy at the national level, called for nationwide protests following the decision. The organization also has a rapid response plan for protests in the case that Trump crosses any “red lines” in the Russian collusion investigation, including firing Mueller or pardoning key witnesses.
Although the crowd was met with minor resistance in the form of people in cars giving a thumbs-down or yelling “Trump rules” as they drove down Yorba Linda Boulevard, many of the cars passing by honked and hollered in approval.
“This is a democracy. We don’t need a king. We don’t need any tyranny. That’s why a lot of us organized. We’re from the community, we’re families, we’re residents and we are not happy with what’s going on so we are exercising our right to protest,” said Patricia Hanzo, a Fullerton resident and member of Indivisible CA-39’s action committee.
The protest occurred two days after the midterm elections, with Democrats winning a majority in the House and Republicans holding the Senate. Shannon Van der Walt, 22, said that besides protesting, engaging in democratic rights such as voting is especially important for young people.
“The policy that gets implemented now is what will affect us in our future. It’s our responsibility to get out there and vote and show our support and disagreement depending on what policy is implemented,” Van der Walt said.
Many people at the rally expressed hope, in spite of their outrage, that organizing could lead to a better situation in the future. Amy Koster, a Yorba Linda resident, said she is hopeful that with a Democratic majority in the House, the president’s actions will be regulated with a system of checks and balances.
“I feel empowered when I see a big crowd like this. I’m glad because here in Yorba Linda there are a lot of Republicans. It makes me feel good to know that there are some people who don’t agree with that philosophy,” Koster said. “I’m going to try and get myself more involved a little more going forward.”