Mem­phis protest calls for pro­tec­tion of Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - Jen­nifer Pig­no­let Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

De­spite the 150 peo­ple who turned out to protest Jeff Ses­sions’ re­moval, Mem­phis ac­tivist Emily Ful­mer wanted one thing to be clear.

“We’re not sad Jeff Ses­sions is out of a job,” she said.

Ses­sions, the for­mer U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral who re­signed from his job this week amid pres­sure from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, was re­spon­si­ble for the end to Depart­ment of Jus­tice over­sight to the ju­ve­nile jus­tice sys­tem in Mem­phis.

He was also re­spon­si­ble, Ful­mer said, for the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “zero-tol­er­ance” im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that sep­a­rated thou­sands of im­mi­grant par­ents from their chil­dren, whom the gov­ern­ment housed in camps, spark­ing na­tional out­rage.

“It’s a stain on this coun­try we will never re­cover from,” Ful­mer said.

But still, the protest held on Civic Plaza in Down­town Satur­day pushed back on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for forc­ing Ses­sions out of his job the day af­ter the midterm elec­tions.

The “No­body is Above the Law” protest called for pro­tec­tion of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­nec­tions to Rus­sia. The lo­cal protest was one of hun­dreds that took place around the coun­try in the week fol­low­ing Ses­sions’ res­ig­na­tion.

“We are proud to be part of this im­por­tant and his­toric ef­fort,” lo­cal ac­tivist Th­eryn C. Bond said.

In his place, Trump put Matthew Whi­taker, an out­spo­ken critic of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion who will now over­see it. Ses­sions had pre­vi­ously re­cused him­self from over­see­ing the probe.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment Fri­day main­tained that Whi­taker’s ap­point­ment was ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Pres­i­dent Trump is not above the law,” Bond said through a mega­phone to cheers from the crowd.

Speak­ers en­cour­aged those con­cerned about Whi­taker pos­si­bly in­ter­fer­ing USA To­day con­trib­uted to this re­port. Reach Jen­nifer Pig­no­let at jen­nifer.pig­no­let@com­mer­cialap­peal.com or on Twit­ter @JenPig­no­let.

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