People For the American Way

Efforts to Protect the Russia Investigation Gather Momentum

News and Analysis

In recent weeks, as the right-wing ramps up its attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller, People For the American Way and coalition partners have engaged in a range of activities to push back and protect the investigation. One such effort has been to organize rapid response rallies to be ready in the event of Trump firing Mueller. So far more than 600 events have been “pre-organized” with more than 150,000 people RSVPed to attend. If Trump decides to try and fire Robert Mueller, these rallies will commence within hours, with people flooding the streets across the country to demand accountability.

As part of this effort, on Wednesday, December 20, PFAW and several allies hosted a Facebook Live featuring commentary and discussion with actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Steve Cohen, CNN commentator and chairman of Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Norm Eisen, as well as other experts and coalition partners, including PFAW’s own Government By the People Campaign Manager Rio Tazewell. We covered the current status of the Mueller investigation, how it has unfolded thus far, where it may go from here, and how to respond to right-wing efforts to undermine the investigation. Viewers were encouraged to get involved with groups like PFAW working to hold the Trump administration accountable, and to sign up to lead rapid response events to protect the investigation in the case of a Mueller firing at TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org.

As Senator Blumenthal said during the Facebook Live:

“What the firing of Robert Mueller would precipitate—likewise a pardon of key witnesses… should be a firestorm of outrage, an outcry to persuade my Republican colleagues as well as Democrats that there has to be a red line here, and if the red line is crossed, action should be taken by Congress as well as by the courts to stop interference and political intrusion in this investigation. What’s at stake is not just this investigation, it’s not just fact finding and uncovering the truth; it’s really the rule of law. It’s that fundamental.”

In addition to organizing a grassroots response to a potential Mueller firing, PFAW and our allies have been working to build support for a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill to protect the investigation by passing a bill that would prevent Trump from unilaterally firing Mueller. This bill would establish a panel of judges that would have to approve the decision. As part of the foundation for a national grassroots advocacy campaign in 2018, a coalition letter outlining support for this bipartisan legislation has been delivered to the Hill. More than 75 groups joined the letter, setting the stage for a large-scale coordinated effort to pressure Congress to advance this legislation in the new year.

All of these efforts are important to make it clear that there are red lines we simply cannot allow to be crossed, as Senator Warner said from the Senate floor earlier in the day on Wednesday:

“I believe it is up to every member of this institution, Republican or Democrat, to make a clear and unambiguous statement that any attempt by this president to remove special counsel Mueller from his position or to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them from accountability, or shut down the investigation, would be a gross abuse of power, and a flagrant violation of executive branch responsibilities and authorities. These truly are red lines, and we simply cannot allow them to be crossed.”