PORTLAND, Ore. – Several thousand people in Portland have signed up to protest if special counsel Robert Mueller is fired amid his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump has denied plans to fire Mueller or given a timeframe for any action. Unconfirmed reports have fueled speculation, however, that the firing could take place soon and people across the country have organized to spontaneously protest following Mueller's firing, if it takes place.
More than 3,100 people have RSVP’d to protest in Pioneer Courthouse Square and another 1,600 said they will show up at Senator Ron Wyden’s office in the Lloyd District. Dozens of other protests are planned in Oregon and hundreds more are set to take place nationwide. People have signed up to be alerted if the firing happens.
Some people RSVP'd months ago, but Jordan LeDoux, the organizer of the largest planned protest in Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, expects the event could be far larger than sign-ups suggest.
LeDoux, who worked with Occupy Portland in 2011, told KGW he's seen a recent spike in RSVPs.
"I was seeing sign-ups around maybe 10 per day until Trump made the new round of fresh threats towards the investigation. Since then I've seen the number of sign ups jump to over 3100, so about 600 in two weeks," he said.
LeDoux noted a national protest movement could also happen if a key witness in the Mueller investigation is pardoned or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is fired and replaced. He expects the protests to materialize a few hours after the news breaks.
LeDoux said he has been in conversation with the Portland Police Bureau to coordinate the police response.
Portland police told KGW they are anticipating what could be an active day of protests.
“The Police Bureau is aware of events planned for this Friday and will work with event organizers and community members to attempt to ensure the safety of participants and community members,” said Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.
Other cities are taking more drastic action in preparation for the possible shakeup. Pittsburgh police detectives have been instructed to carry riot gear should protests break out.
On Wednesday, President Trump did not say whether he would fire the special counsel.
"They've been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they’re still here," Trump said.
Trump has expressed anger about Mueller and his investigation, most recently after the FBI raided the office, home and hotel room of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
On Thursday, another of Trump’s personal attorneys, Jay Sekulow, revealed that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining Trump’s legal team to defend the president in Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Trump said Giuliani “has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country."
President Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing related to Mueller's investigation.