A day after President Donald Trump’s shocking dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, activists assembled in Washington, Chicago and other cities to urge an independent investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.
By waving signs and chanting outside the White House and at Senate constituency offices in other states, demonstrators said Trump’s move had compromised the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe.
“I have no love left for Comey,” said Cody Davis, 29, among a small group of protesters near Chicago’s 96-story Trump International Hotel and Tower. “I’m not here to defend him. You could easily argue he lost the election for Hillary.”
Comey has been criticized by Democrats for his handling of an investigation surrounding 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
“I’m here today is not because he was fired, but it was so clearly because Trump was afraid of something,” said Davis.
White House officials have denied any political motivation behind the firing. Trump said that Comey did his work bad and had lost the confidence of everyone in Washington.
Critics at various protests compared the Comey dismissal to the “Saturday Night Massacre” of 1973, in which President Richard Nixon fired an independent special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.
In more than a dozen states including New York, Kentucky, Arizona, California and Florida, MoveOn.Org and a coalition of liberal groups hastily organized protests at senators’ offices.
“The one man in America who was leading the most thorough and long-lasting investigation of Donald Trump was just fired,” Jo Comerford, campaign director for MoveOn.org, said in a statement.
The issue also was discussed at town hall meetings being held by members of Congress across the country.
For some Trump supporters the controversy seemed overblown.
Denny Herman of Wamego, Kansas, said Comey deserved to be fired and the Russia investigation would not turn up wrongdoing. He said there was no need for a special prosecutor.
“It’s just liberal crap,” he said. “We got bigger fish to fry.”
But in downtown Chicago, several dozen people banged pots and pans, chanted “Investigate Now!” and waved signs reading “You can’t fire the truth”.
There were several hundred people also gathered outside the White House and called for a special prosecutor.
“I feel like truly shocking for what happened yesterday, and the Republicans won’t stand up and do what they should without somebody pressing them,” said demonstrator Kelli Rowedder, a 34-year-old teacher from Washington.