By Harry Lichtman
ROCKVILLE — After the firing of Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump announced that his new acting U.S. Attorney General at the Department of Justice would be Matthew Whitaker, who will take charge of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
This led to nationwide protests in several parts of the county, including downtown Rockville, as many gathered with pro-Mueller and anti-Trump signs around 25 Courthouse Square at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night.
Cheri Borsky, a software development programmer, was the head organizer for the event, leading protesters around downtown Rockville.
“I knew a lot of people would go down to D.C.,” said Borsky. “But there are a lot of people who can’t make it that far that easily on a weekday night. We wanted to express our views up here.”
Borsky was “frustrated” to hear that Trump was still attempting to stop the Mueller investigation.
“If there was nothing he had done that was illegal or immoral, he would not have a problem with letting Mueller finish his investigation,” Borsky said. “He is just constantly trying to close down and harass that investigation.”
Borsky also noted the fact that Whitaker has appeared on CNN making numerous statements that he has a strong opinion about the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt.”
“He’s not a neutral party to be overseeing from the DOJ point of view,” Borsky said of Whitaker.
Throughout the event, protesters marched around downtown Rockville, going to the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) (even though Van Hollen was in Silver Spring), as well as to Rockville Town Square near the ice rink.
Besides Borsky, a few other protesters spoke their minds about Trump, including Andrew Duck, a resident of Brunswick, who spent 20 years in the United States Army.
“I think it’s exciting to see so many people come out and speak together to try and protect the Rule of Law in this country,” said Duck. “The Rule of Law has had a great tradition from our founding, and we cannot abandon democracy now.”
Duck was not surprised about Trump’s attempt to stop the Mueller investigation.
“We need checks and balances,” said Duck. “We’ve already had people request that they preserve documents, in case he does get fired. We need Congress to take action. If Whitaker does not recuse himself, Congress needs to pass the law to protect the Special Counsel’s Office.”
Ruth White was one of the protesters who marched around Rockville, even though she actually doesn’t live in Montgomery County. White came all the way from Howard County to join her relatives.
“I’m just appalled that there’s a chance the president would shut down the Mueller investigation,” said White.
In the end, the protest in Rockville drew around 250 people who marched to Van Hollen’s office, then Rockville Town Square, and back to 25 Courthouse Square.
“Everybody seemed very pleased with it,” said Borsky. “We accomplished what we set out to, which was to make some noise, get some energy going, and we are going to be able to spread the word on social media, to friends, and to hopefully motivate people who are not paying that much attention.”