HARRISONBURG — Thursday evening, the space around Court Square once again found itself swept up in national politics.

Close to 150 people showed up at the close of workday as part of a nationwide "Protect Mueller" campaign, with a stated aim of protecting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 presidential election and possible interference on the part of Russian operatives in the campaign.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversaw the Department of Justice which is responsible for the special counsel's probe, resigned under pressure from President Donald Trump. Sessions and Trump's relationship had been strained since March 2017, when the attorney general recused himself from Mueller's investigation.

Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff, has been named interim attorney general. Whitaker has been openly critical of the ongoing Mueller investigation, and Trump critics believe the shakeup means that the president, who has deemed the probe as an unfounded "witch hunt," will either move to have the investigation curtailed or Mueller fired.

The shakeup came a day after Tuesday night's election in which Democrats secured a majority in the House of Representatives, affording them an ability to launch investigations into the president.

"I'm just really angry about the sudden firing of Sessions and then putting Whitaker in who will be overseeing the investigation and he has openly derailed the investigation and wants to annihilate whats been done so far," said one protester, Jane Ruppe, 67, of Harrisonburg.

Brent Finnegan, a Harrisonburg Planning Commission member who last year unsuccessfully challenged Republican Del. Tony Wilt, R-Broadway, helped organize Thursday's rally in the city.

"This is just our local reaction, we're not really organizing anything," Finnegan said. "We're just mobilizing people to come out for this event and make sure that we're shining a light on this corruption in Washington."

Throughout the hourlong event, Finnegan and Lynlee Wastie, another organizer, encouraged the crowd to contact their representatives in Congress — including retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, Rep.-elect Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge, and newly re-elected Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Afterward, various protesters addressed the rally, including Clark Mason, 52, of Mount Sidney.

"The checks and balances of Madisonian democracy are not doing their job," Mason said. "Our lawmakers are not doing their job, the 63 million people who follow [President Trump] blindly are not doing their job."

(7) comments

billnonymous

95% of those bleating sheep couldn't pick Sessions out of a lineup if their life depended on it. They get a 'tweet' to show up and that's all it takes to motivate them, "tell me where to go, what time to be there, and what my sign needs to say and I'll be there with my phony outrage" They just need an outlet for their raging TDS. Where were they when Eric Holder became the only US AG to be held in contempt of Congress? Imagine if Sessions ordered thousands of US guns to be shipped off to Mexican drug cartels and one of our Border Patrol agents was shot dead with one of the guns? They'd be calling for Trump's resignation and Sessions' imprisonment, but since this, literally, happened under Obama/Holder, the hypocrite liberals shrugged their shoulders and said "wow, that's a bummer about that dead dude but this is not a scandal because the lamestream media didn't cover it."

bishopsboy

Brian Terry's life and name will never be forgotten whether the MSM covered the story or not.

prodigalson

Do any of these people have jobs?

bishopsboy

Dear Prince Prodigal, protesting is their job. Some have nothing else to do until their next welfare check arrives and others are paid by Comrade Soros.

bjbehappy

Ruppe was probably also demanding Sessions be fired when Trump hired him!!! Typical liberal hypocrisy!

BoDuke319

What do these people on a day they're not protesting? Plan the next one? It's always nice to see people protesting something that hasn't happened.

posumcop

Did any of these dem/lib/prog.soc "protester" stand up and demand the investigation continue into the unlawful acts of Hillary Clinton? I did not think so. Nothing like a hypocrite!

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