Where do you want to fly?
Brace for some major protests.
The “Mueller Protection Rapid Response” protest near the White House Thursday night. Photograph by Evy Mages.
Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is reportedly in its final stretch. There’s no official indication of when he will hand over his findings to newly minted Attorney General William Barr, but many are now bracing for a situation where an attempt is made to keep the full report from the public. So what happens if we don’t, after all of the buildup and anticipation, actually get to see Mueller’s findings? Resistance and progressive groups in DC are right now trying to figure that out. “If something is this clear overreach and challenge to democracy, it’s going to be up to the citizens to respond and be active and persistent in our need to learn the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable,” says Jesse Littlewood, a national campaigns and digital director of Common Cause.
Common Cause is part of a coalition progressive nonprofits and advocacy groups that have planned pro-Mueller demonstrations in the past, called Nobody Is Above the Law. MoveOn, Indivisible, Public Citizen, and Stand Up America are also among the groups involved in the effort. Should events warrant, the organizations will together spearhead a major DC rally (no specific location has yet been chosen). The event would be similar, they say, to protests they organized in November after Jeff Sessions was ousted, which attracted tens of thousands of attendees in various cities. This one has the potential to be much larger, given the stakes.
So what would trigger such a coordinated response? According to Littlewood, there are three potential tripwires: if Trump pardons key witnesses, if the Mueller investigation releases findings showing significant wrongdoing by the President, or if Congress or the administration blocks the public from seeing the report. “We demand that the entire findings become public,” says David Sievers of Move On. Sievers points out that both Democrats and Republicans are keen to see the report, citing a recent CNN poll. “This is going to be one of those moments where the country and the world’s attention is focused,” he adds. “A lot of people are going to want to be involved.”
Other groups say they would also jump into action if Mueller’s report is somehow stifled. Kremlin Annex—the group that has protested Trump in Lafayette Park with Mariachi bands, bagpipes, and even Rosie O’Donnell—says it’s ready to ramp up its efforts should the time come, and could also join Nobody Is Above the Law’s plans. “Everyone naturally works really well together—there’s no sharp elbows,” says the group’s Adam Parkhomenko, a former political advisor to Hillary Clinton. “However we can help support whatever they’re doing, we will.”
Of course, it’s quite possible that Mueller’s report will end up being released, in which case the rapid-response efforts will be put away for another time. Which would be a good thing, says Sievers: “No one is hoping that this will happen. Hopefully when Barr gets Mueller’s findings, he’ll do the right thing. Hopefully we’ll never have to protest.”