Liberal activists have been planning nationwide protests for a year in the event that President Donald Trump fires either special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to the McClatchy Washington Bureau.
The protests have been organized on MoveOn.org, and include more than 800 events that more than 300,000 people have signed up to participate in.
Ben Wikler is the Washington director of MoveOn.org, and he said unique circumstances led to such significant advance-protest planning, which he said is unprecedented.
"We've never had a crisis plan that we had to put into action like this," Wikler said. "From time immemorial, we've always had protests planned in response to events or to create events themselves. We've never been on a brink of a constitutional crisis like this. These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures."
Why all the planning?
The demonstrations originated with a plan to protest if Mueller was fired, but the possibility of Rosenstein getting fired was added on as a triggering condition.
Mueller and Rosenstein reportedly had a hand in authorizing the FBI raid on Trump attorney Michael Cohen's home and office earlier this week, angering Trump and fueling speculation that Trump might end the investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.
"The goal is to make sure that if Trump attacks the Constitution, it turns into a political crisis that demands a response from the House and Senate," Wikler said.
What would trigger the protests?
The website TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org details the "red line" actions that would trigger the protests across the country:
- Firing Mueller
- Pardons of key witnesses
- Actions that would prevent the investigation from being conducted freely, such as replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller's current supervisor, or repealing the regulations establishing the office.
The firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is listed as "one step short of the break glass moment."
If one of these events occurs before 2 p.m., protests begin at 5 p.m. that day; if the red line action occurs after 2 p.m., then the protests will begin at noon the next day.
What do they want?
The goal of the protests would be to get three things from Congress:
- Protect the special counsel's office
- Create a Senate committee to investigate Russia and Trump
- Bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee regarding Trump's alleged obstruction of justice and abuse of power