Glenwood Springs joins nationwide rally for Mueller | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs joins nationwide rally for Mueller

More than a dozen people from the greater Roaring Fork Valley gathered in Glenwood Springs Thursday to show support for special counsel investigator Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference with the 2016 election.

With signs showing support for Mueller, as well as other political causes, around 18 people, including three young children, gathered in front of the Garfield County courthouse.

The Thursday evening rally was part of a hastily organized nationwide campaign to protest the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday. The activist group Indivisible, formed to resist President Donald Trump's administration, says the president crossed a red line by elevating Matthew Whitaker, the former chief of staff to Sessions, to be acting attorney general.

Sessions had recused himself from the Mueller investigation, leaving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee the special counsel. With Sessions gone, some in Glenwood Springs said Rosenstein should have been selected acting attorney general.

"He got leap-frogged over," rally participant Edgar Scott said. "If Sessions is going to leave, I'd much rather Rosenstein is involved in overseeing the Mueller investigation."

Glenwood Springs resident Sam Noel referred to the indictments Mueller has already filed against both former Trump campaign officials and Russian citizens as evidence the investigation is working.

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"Clearly, the answers are happening and Mueller is getting to the bottom of what's going on," Noel said.

Noel and others are concerned that the firing of Sessions is a precursor to burying a final report from the Mueller investigation.

"If this Russia thing turned out to be more involved, and there was collusion, Americans deserve to know," she said.

Trump announced Sessions had been fired in a Tweet around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, and by 3:30 p.m., Indivisible had put out a call to local activists to protest.

According to volunteer Joyce Jenkins, who organized the Thursday rally, some members of Indivisible were unsure of whether the firing of Sessions was cause for a protest.

"There was some discussion about whether this was the right time to come out or not, because there was nothing really blatant. It was just a change at the top," Jenkins said.

"We had some time discussing that, but most people wanted to make some sort of showing," Jenkins said.

Once the group had decided to organize a rally, Jenkins said she spent most of Thursday coordinating the event with other leaders from Indivisible. The real push, Jenkins said, is to get people to write their representatives and voice support for Mueller.

"There's a lot to be standing around protesting about," Carolee Murray of Carbondale said. Her sign said "Asylum is legal," and since the 2017 Women's March, she said she had been to some five rallies and protests.

Around 15 minutes into the rally, at about 5:20 p.m., the group moved east along Eighth Street to the base of the Grand Avenue Bridge. A few people had left the rally for other engagements, but Jenkins led the remainder in a call and response chant. "Hands off Robert Mueller," Jenkins called. The others responded, "Let him do his job."

tphippen@postindependent.com