Hundreds of people in Bucks County joined large crowds nationwide Thursday evening for a rally aimed at protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The evening rally was set up by MoveOn and Buxmont Inclusive along with a number of local progressive groups.
Crowds gathered at the corner of Newtown-Langhorne Road and the Newtown Bypass and outside the nearby One Summit Square office building in Middletown, where Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s office sits.
One-by-one, members of the group walked up to the congressman’s office and provided their comments to Fitzpatrick.
Along the busy Newtown Bypass, cars and trucks beeped in support of the ralliers. The beeps and cheers of support seemed to outnumber those who yelled out against the group.
The group rallied out of concern that Republican President Donald Trump might be making moves to undermine Mueller’s investigation. They were concerned by the recent forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointment of Acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker, who has gained oversight of the special counsel investigation.
As of Friday morning, Mueller’s investigation has already led to federal charges being filed against 33 individuals and corporations, including a number of Russian citizens closely connected to the government. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty in one case and pleaded guilty in another. The country’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty. Media reports have indicated that other individuals close to Trump have been questioned as part of the probe.
Renee Donahey, who has demonstrated outside Fitzpatrick’s before, said she had to come out because she feels he does not put enough pressure on the president. She wants the congressman to take a bolder stand for Mueller.
Just a few years ago, Lower Makefield resident Carl Lang, who said he has never been overtly political, wouldn’t have expected that he would be on a street corner at a political protest but things have changed in recent years.
“I think it is important for every American to stand up for the rule of law,” he said.
Lang said he is worried about division that he blames, in part, on Trump and referenced the president’s skills at manipulating facts.
Karen Gray of Yardley said she has been activate in civic demonstrations since the Vietnam War and will continue to be, especially in light of the current political climate.
Kierstyn Zolfo, one of the rally organizers, said that Trump’s move to put a “loyalist” in as the acting attorney general is an “unjustified outrageous attempt to undermine the Russia investigation.”
“A key aspect of our democracy is that no one person is above the law. And at this critical juncture in our nation’s history, events are transpiring that demand our continued vigilance. I am hopeful that your presence today at this rally, and the presence of thousands more concerned citizens just like you , gathering across our great nation, will be the force today to ensure that the power of the presidency is not misused against the wisdom embedded in our constitution: that we are indeed a nation guided by the rule of law and not by the rule of the lawless and the selfish,” Steve Cickay, one of the event’s organizers, told the crowd.
Fitzpatrick, a former FBI special agent, told NewtownPANow.com he is backing Mueller’s probe.
“I have and will continue to support the Special Counsel investigation led by my former boss, Robert Mueller. Our job as FBI Agents was to follow the facts wherever they lead, and to report those facts with unimpeachable integrity. My former colleagues at the FBI, who are true professionals, must be allowed to finish their work and present their facts to Congress. The pursuit of truth and the defense of our nation must be held above all else,” he said in an emailed statement.
Earlier this year, Fitzpatrick cosponsored the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act along with Democratic Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont. The legislation would lay down ground rules on how and when a special counsel can be fired. It states a special counsel “may be removed only for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice.” The legislation, which would be retroactive to January 2017, also proposes a system to allow challenges of the removal to be filed and reviewed by a panel of judges.
Despite Fitzpatrick’s assurance, Marta Black of Yardley said she will continue to put pressure on the congressman. She has called the office to make her voice heard of issues over the past few months.