200 Beaconites Protest Justice Department Shuffle of Jeff Sessions' Replacement, Matthew Whitaker

Yesterday we reported that people were gathering at Polhill Park in Beacon to protest the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to temporarily replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, after Sessions submitted his resignation letter (as requested by the president, according to the first sentence in the letter Jeff Sessions submitted). A participant sent in an estimate of 200 people in attendance at Beacon’s protest, one of 900 that happened across the country.

As a bring-you-up-to-speed if you need it, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation which is a look by federal authorities into if and how Russia influenced the 2016 election, and if the current president played a part in that in any way. Sessions has continued to do work that the president has directed him to do, but the president has openly resented Sessions for his recusal. Matthew Whitaker was the Chief of Staff under Sessions, and has vocalized wanting to end the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been protective of continuing the Russia investigation.

From a participant, Air Nonken Rhodes, we have a description of Beacon’s event, and pictures that Air took. In Air’s words:

About 200 people in total were there at the time of its largest crowd (5:30 pm), and about 80 people were there most of the rest of the time from 5 to 6:30 pm. Kids, grandparents, commuters coming off the train, people with their dogs, everyone showed up with signs and spirit to stand up against what we see as a power grab.

Conversations included how scary it is to see the checks and balances in our democracy unravel. The mood was generally light, with lots of hooting and hollering with joy whenever a car would honk in support. The commuter traffic going by was generally supportive of our signs.

A small minority shook their heads or gave thumbs-down, a dozen or so going out of their way to roll down their window in the cold air to shout curse-riddled invectives and diatribes against the protestors. A few were stunningly hateful, and took some careful explaining for the kids present. It was deeply sad to see this Trumpish incivility on our own Main Street.

One kid standing next to me asked, “Are we allowed to be here? Are we allowed to do this?” (meaning protest) and her mother explained proudly, “Yes, as Americans we have the free right of peaceable assembly and the right of free speech. We are allowed to be here and do this, and it’s very important to do so whenever something goes wrong. The President doesn’t think the rules apply to him, and we have to remind him that they do.”

Photo Credit for All Photos: Air Nonken Rhodes

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Thursday's Planned Local Protest in Beacon Is One Of 900 In USA In Protest of Jeff Sessions’ Replacement, Matt Whitaker

When: Thursday, November 8, 5 pm
Where: Polhill Park, intersection of Route 9D & Main St., Beacon, NY 12508
What: Citizens protest against President Trump replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matt Whitaker

On your drive or walk home from work, if you notice a gathering of people at the intersection of Main Street and 9D known as Polhill Park, they have gathered there in protest against President Trump replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matt Whitaker, who as of yesterday, was the Chief of Staff under Sessions. This protest is one of about 900 scheduled across the country, encouraged by MoveOn.org, categorized under the theme “Nobody’s Above The Law”.

Air Nonken Rhodes, a citizen from Beacon, wrote into A Little Beacon Blog to alert us about the event, and had this to say about attending: “We are standing up against Trump's appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General because we see it as a clear move to thwart the power of the Mueller investigation… [It is my opinion that] Whitaker has been appointed not because he will make a good acting AG, but because he will protect the President. If Trump has nothing to hide, he would allow the investigation to continue. The American public (and people around the world) have the right to know the truth about the financing and influences in the 2016 election, Russia's interference in it, and Trump's personal, family, and business connections to these issues.”