Utahns hold second rally in support of protections for FBI probe into Russian collusion

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Joanne Slotnik speaks to protesters at the "Rally for the Rule of Law" to urge Utah’s Members of Congress to prevent President Donald Trump from compromising the independence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, at the Federal Building, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

Scores of Utahns gathered Saturday at a second rally to support protections for Robert Mueller and his investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

Rallies in Utah and around the country Thursday were sparked by Trump’s firing of ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker, a critic of the FBI probe, as the acting attorney general.

The second rally was held Saturday to accommodate additional supporters, according to a news release from organizers, including the nonpartisan Salt Lake Indivisible. It said rally participants are asking Whitaker to recuse himself from any role in the Mueller probe and want bipartisan congressional support for legislation to protect the special counsel investigation.

Rally participants sang “God Bless America” and Martha Paige, a speaker who said she had joined protests in the 1960s, led them in singing “We Shall Overcome.” Paige, 75, encouraged the crowd to stay involved and not give up as she shared her experience of when she marched into Montgomery with Martin Luther King Jr. and 25,000 others in 1965.

Former Utah Congresswoman Karen Shepherd thanked Salt Lake Indivisible and everyone who made a difference in the midterm elections. She predicted that Democrat Ben McAdams will win his race against Republican Rep. Mia Love in the 4th Congressional District; McAdams' lead narrowed Friday and more vote totals are expected to be released Tuesday.

At Thursday’s rally, organizers read emails they had received from Utah Sen.-elect Mitt Romney and Utah Rep. John Curtis, who said they support the group’s bipartisan message of protecting the FBI investigation’s independence.

Both rallies were held in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in downtown Salt Lake City.

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