Protests in cities across the U.S. have drawn crowds calling for the protection of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign.
More than 1,000 New Yorkers started marching from Times Square at 5 p.m., holding signs reading "Nobody is above the law" and chanting "Hands off Mueller!" By 6:30 p.m. the crowd had swelled to more than 6,000 as marchers headed for Union Square, law enforcement officials told NBC New York.
Organizers oppose Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general after the president forced Sessions to resign Wednesday. Whitaker could now be the official to oversee the Russia probe, which he has criticized in the past.
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Protesters call the move a deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsel's investigation.
Demonstrators in New York held signs reading "Truth Must Triumph" and "Repeal, Replace Trump."
Similar rallies were held across the country. Crowds marched in Washington, Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Chattanooga and Philadelphia, where protesters convened in Center City and marched down Market Street chanting "Protect Mueller."
In Boston, ralliers came together on Boston Common, holding signs in support of the integrity of the Mueller investigation.
In Chicago, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin joined several hundred protesters at Federal Plaza.
Meanwhile, five protests were held in San Diego and southwestern Riverside counties in California, organized by local activist groups in conjunction with MoveOn.org.
Demonstrators are demanding that Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation given his previous public comments that appeared to exhibit hostility toward the inquiry, NBC Philadelphia reported.
Congressional Democrats have also called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.
The nationwide protests are being organized by a coalition of hundreds of public interest organizations.