April 13, 2018
The chatter ramped up Friday that it's only a matter of time until Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general for the Justice Department.
Rosenstein, of course, is the Philadelphia native and Penn graduate who appointed (and now oversees) special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
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As that investigation heats up – Trump attorney Michael Cohen's law office and home was raided by the FBI earlier this week – so has speculation that Trump will fire Rosenstein, who would be the top official at Justice with authority to fire Mueller. But Rosenstein has made it clear he will not fire Mueller without legitimate cause.
Hypothetically, to stop the momentum of the Russia investigation, Trump could fire Rosenstein and ask the next Justice official in charge to fire Mueller, and keep firing people until somebody agrees. (There is much disagreement about whether Trump could lawfully do it himself.)
Meanwhile, Democrats and a number of Republicans in Congress have warned the White House not to dismiss Rosenstein or Mueller.
Such a move can be guaranteed to spark nearly immediate protest in Philadelphia and across the nation.
On Friday, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat from Northeast Philadelphia, indicated a Rosenstein firing would trigger an immediate article of impeachment in the House. He could expect to have many supporters.
If @realDonaldTrump fires the Deputy AG, I will immediately introduce an article of impeachment. This is a clear attempt to obstruct justice. https://t.co/IJ5c9eDNbN— Rep. Brendan Boyle (@CongBoyle) April 13, 2018
Meanwhile, a coalition of activists, unions and policy organizations, including MoveOn.org, has a rapid response plan in place at the first sign of a pink slip (or Trump tweet?) for Mueller or Rosenstein. Some 800 protests have been scheduled nationwide.
In the Philadelphia area, protests would kick into action within hours of a firing at these locations. (In general, if such news breaks before 2 p.m. EDT, then protests will launch at 5 p.m. local time, MoveOn.org said. If a firing is made public after 2 p.m., then protests would begin at noon the next day.)
• Thomas Paine Plaza, Center City Philadelphia
• Office of state Rep. Madeleine Dean, Abington
• Office of U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, Cherry Hill
• Outside the Old Gloucester County Courthouse, Woodbury
• Outside the Montgomery County Courthouse, Norristown
• Outside the Delaware County Courthouse, Media
• Office of U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, Marlton
• Chester County District Justice building, Chesterbrook
• Office of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Langhorne
• Bucks County Courthouse, Doylestown
More than 300,000 people have RSVPed for one of the potential protests.
For addresses and more information about the protests, go here.