Vail Valley residents speak up in response to new attorney general | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley residents speak up in response to new attorney general

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking at the U.S. Marshals Service 37th Director's Honorary Awards Ceremony, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the request of President Donald Trump.

Sessions, who recused himself from control of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, has been replaced by acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker, who has said he has no intention of recusing from the Russia probe and is not believed to approve any subpoena of Trump as part of that investigation. Whitaker has written opinion pieces about the investigation and is a friend and political ally of a grand jury witness.

While Sessions' removal was expected, the installation of Whitaker sparks fears that the president might be trying to exert control over the special council investigation led by Robert Mueller.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, valley residents rallied at the corner of The Riverwalk at Edwards on U.S. Highway 6 to protest the appointment of Whitaker and encourage others to speak out.

"We'd like to protect democracy and keep the Mueller probe going because we deserve the truth," Cathy Vaughan-Grabowski said as cars honked at the intersection. "Maybe they'll go home tonight and write a letter or email to their representative."

Signs read "Saving the Mueller investigation saves our USA democracy," as well as sayings linking Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Whitaker said in a statement: "It is a true honor that the president has confidence in my ability to lead the Department of Justice as Acting Attorney General. I am committed to leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards, that upholds the rule of law and seeks justice for all Americans."

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.