More than 200 “Reject the Cover-Up” protests are planned around the nation Wednesday in response to President Donald Trump’s impeachment acquittal.
Most were expected to begin at 5:30 p.m. EST in opposition to the Senate trial.
“(W)e’re mobilizing tens of thousands of protestors at over 270 rallies across the country to make it clear that voters are watching, and that we’ll remember the lawmakers who chose cowardice over patriotism,” said Sean Eldridge, a former congressional candidate and the founder and president of Stand Up America, a liberal activist group that is helping to organize the protests.
Why are people protesting?
After an investigation revealed that he had sought foreign interference from Ukraine for the 2020 election, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 18 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delivered the articles of impeachment Jan. 15.
Following two contentious weeks in the Senate impeachment trial, which reached a fever pitch at Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Trump was found not guilty Wednesday on both articles of impeachment.
A group of around 50 protesters staged a sit-in Wednesday at the Capitol in Washington, chanting “honor your oaths, “Trump is guilty,” and “we know this is a cover-up,” for several minutes before being arrested and removed by Capitol Police. Ten people were arrested, according to spokeswoman Eva Malecki.
On Friday, the Senate voted against subpoenas for new witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. At 51-49, the vote was largely along party lines.
Democrats condemned the decision in the final speeches leading up to Wednesday’s final vote. Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House Democrat pursuing Trump, argued Monday that Trump would continue to undermine national security if acquitted.
“You can’t trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country,” said Schiff, D-Calif.
Activist groups also decried the Senate’s expected acquittal.
“Senate Republicans have thrown all democratic norms and decades of precedent out of the window by preventing witnesses from testifying before the Senate,” Eldridge said. “Any ‘acquittal’ made after blocking key evidence is not an exoneration, it’s a cover-up.”
Sen. Mitt Romney broke party lines on Wednesday, voting to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment.
“Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” he said in a speech Wednesday.
Who’s organizing these protests?
A bipartisan collection of activist groups, including Stand Up America, Women’s March, By the People and Common Cause, among others, are among the organizers. Issue-oriented groups such as Greenpeace and Sierra Club, along with Stand Up Republic, a right-leaning anti-Trump group, are also involved.
Some of these groups, namely By the People, also held demonstrations nationwide in opposition to the Friday vote.
“The omission of witnesses and evidence in Trump’s removal trial will be met with resistance by every individual who believes in government for the people and by the people,” said Rachel Carmona, Women’s March COO, in a Friday statement.
Where are protests happening?
Protests are expected to be held nationwide at over 270 official “Reject the Cover-Up” events. They encompass 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Contributing: Nicholas Wu, Bart Jansen, Maureen Groppe, Ledyard King, USA TODAY