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Hundreds in capital region protest Trump’s new acting AG after Sessions’ departure

Protesters at the FBI district office in Roseville on Thursday responded to the newly-installed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, who will oversee the U.S. Department of Justice’s special counsel investigation.
Protesters at the FBI district office in Roseville on Thursday responded to the newly-installed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, who will oversee the U.S. Department of Justice’s special counsel investigation. vmoleski@sacbee.com

Hundreds of protesters gathered Thursday near the state Capitol and the FBI district office in Roseville in response to Wednesday’s naming of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general to lead the U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees the special-counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

About 500 protesters showed up at the Capitol and over 100 rallied at the FBI office after Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions with his former chief of staff Wednesday.

Whitaker has previously been critical of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election meddling and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.

Protesters also gathered outside the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building on the Capitol Mall and other demonstrations were scheduled at Vernon Street Town Square in Roseville, the Placer County Superior Court House, and down Main Street in Placerville.

The local protests were organized primarily by affiliates of Indivisible, a national progressive political organization. Dennessa Atiles, an organizer for The Resistance in Sacramento and Elk Grove, an Indivisible group, said Whitaker would not be fair in his oversight of the investigation and that he would impede its progress.

Several protesters at the FBI office said they wanted Trump to held accountable to the law, a prospect they said was under threat after naming Whitaker acting attorney general.

As evidence of Whitaker’s bias, Atiles noted that he had once referred to the special counsel investigation as a “witch hunt.”

Some protesters’ signs read “nobody is above the law” and “impeach Trump,” while others’ displayed supportive messages for Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who led the probe after Session recused himself in May 2017.

Protests across the country — many of which appeared under the #ProtectMueller hashtag — were staged at government buildings.

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