“We want a leader! Not a creepy tweeter!” more than 200 demonstrators chanted as they marched through downtown Richmond, demanding an investigation into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
Indivisible Richmond, whose mission is to “resist the Trump agenda,” organized the “March for Truth” rally at the Virginia Capitol. Similar events were held in over 150 cities nationwide on Saturday.
At the local rally, U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin of Richmond and other speakers called for an independent commission to conduct a transparent investigation into the Trump campaign’s purported connections with Russia and Russia’s supposed meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
“There is the truth that needs to be told. What is behind a president, a commander-in-chief, who can’t even acknowledge an attack on our sovereignty?” said McEachin, a Democrat who was elected last fall to represent Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. “What is that truth?”
McEachin urged the demonstrators to pressure Congress to conduct an independent investigation of the matter.
The role that Russia may have played in the 2016 election came under scrutiny when Trump fired James Comey as FBI director after Comey asked for more resources to investigate Russia’s influence in America’s electoral politics.
Congress appointed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to conduct an investigation into the claims. However, it was later revealed that Nunes had been corresponding with associates within the White House about the investigation. The FBI has appointed Robert Muller as special counsel to lead the investigation.
Trump and many Republicans say the investigation has no basis. The president has called it a witch hunt launched by Democrats who are angry about losing the election.
Kasey Landrum, co-chair of Indivisible Richmond, told the rally on the state Capitol grounds that Americans want government accountability.
“We’d like to hold our president of the United States and his administration accountable for their behaviors that aren’t appropriate in our democracy,” Landrum said.
Another speaker at the “March for Truth” was Rachna Heizer, a member of Lawyers for Good Government. The organization was created after the 2016 election and now has 130,000 members.
“We are a government of people, by the people and for the people,” Heizer said. “It is our government, and it is time that we take it back. It is time for us to remind our elected officials that they work for us!”
Fred Douglas, a protester who came out with two homemade “Russiagate” posters, accused the White House of a lack of transparency.
“We are looking for the truth. We are looking for the whole truth, no matter where it takes us,” Douglas said. “Our democracy cannot stand the uncertainty that this administration has created.”
Other speakers at the event included Corinna Lain, a University of Richmond law professor; Carolina O. (@RVAwonk), famous on Twitter for confronting Republican political strategist Roger Stone; and Jen Lawhorne, representing Progress Virginia.
Carolina O. is a behavioral scientist who has done research into the spread of information on social media and how it frames human perspective. In her speech, she addressed how she became involved in politics.
“Science rests on the principle of accountability, of transparency, of free flow of information – and so does democracy,” she said. “Both of them fail when those principles fail.”