Demonstrators gather outside White House to protest Sessions's ouster

Demonstrators gather outside White House to protest Sessions's ouster
© WUSA9

A group of demonstrators gathered outside the White House on Wednesday night to protest Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCongress is going to make marijuana moves Trump throws support behind criminal justice bill Bill to protect Mueller blocked in Senate MORE's resignation at President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE’s request.

Footage from local CBS News affiliate WUSA9 showed protesters spelling out "Protect Mueller" in neon letters in front of the White House late Wednesday evening. Others held signs which included messages such as, "Trump is a dictraitor."

ADVERTISEMENT

The protests came just hours after Sessions submitted his formal resignation at Trump's request. Trump announced on Twitter that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, would take over as ActingMatthew G WhitakerSchumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Grassley defends acting AG against calls for recusal Acting AG will meet with DOJ ethics officials to discuss possible recusal MORE attorney general. 

Sessions's dismissal drew swift backlash from Democratic lawmakers, many of whom voiced concerns about what his resignation as the top Justice Department official could mean for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Whitaker, who has publicly criticized certain elements of the investigation, will now oversee it.

"The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice," DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement to The Hill.

The move means that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinOver 1,600 lawyers sign letter saying Mueller probe must be protected Democrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits Maryland asks court to replace Whitaker with Rosenstein as acting AG MORE will no longer oversee the federal Russia investigation, which he has supervised since Sessions recused himself early last year, citing his work on Trump's campaign.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Dems launching probe into Whitaker's role in company government deemed a 'scam' Incoming N.J. Dem lawmaker says she won't vote for Pelosi as Speaker Whitaker saying he won’t cut Mueller funding: report MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded to the news by saying that Mueller's probe is in "new and immediate peril." Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is set to become the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said that Americans "must have answers immediately" on why Sessions resigned. 

Trump has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a "witch hunt," an expression which Whitaker himself has echoed.

The president on Wednesday said he could fire everybody with ties to the special counsel's office. He added that he would not take that step because of political reasons.

“I could fire everybody right now, but I don’t want to stop it because politically I don’t like stopping it,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace. It should never have been started, because there is no crime.”

Another demonstration, organized by groups connected with the Nobody Is Above the Law network, is planned to take place on Thursday outside the White House. 

"Donald Trump just crossed a red line, violating the independence of the investigation pursuing criminal charges in the Trump-Russia scandal and cover-up," the group says in a statement on its website.

"We're mobilizing immediately to demand accountability, because Trump is not above the law."

Hundreds of groups planned to protest at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the group's website.

The Hill has reached out to the group for comment.