Thousands of protesters marched through New York City’s Times Square Tuesday night, past theater-goers and tourists, chanting for President Donald Trump’s impeachment on the eve of the House’s historic vote.
Emily Edwards, a 30-year-old who works in the performing arts field, held aloft a sign that read: “All I Want For Christmas Is An Impartial Trial.”
"Our country is in a very dangerous situation," she said.
The marchers chanted “Impeach, Remove,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go” as they headed downtown along Broadway, one of more than 600 rallies planned across the country, from the Boston Commons to Los Angeles City Hall. On Wednesday, the House is expected to approve articles of impeachment for only the third time.
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“The president needs to be impeached,” said Joseph Hasan, a publishing professional.
“And removed from office,” added his wife, Jessica Wells-Hasan, a non-profit executive. “People need to see that everyone wants this to happen.”
In Philadelphia, Vicki Miller helped to organize the rally there because, for the retired lawyer from Philadelphia, the evidence is clear.
"You can't solicit the help of a foreign government in an election," she said.
Trump faces two articles arising from his attempts to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate one of his chief Democratic rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter, as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for interference in the 2016 election. Trump is accused of withholding a coveted White House meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and $391 million in military and security aid that Ukraine needed to battle Russian aggression in return for a public announcement of the probes.
The articles -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- are expected to pass in the Democratic-controlled House even as Republicans argue there is little evidence to support what they say is simply a politically motivated effort to drive Trump from office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is coordinating with the White House for a short trial in the Republican-controlled Senate early next year on impeachment articles he described as "so darn weak."
Tuesday's rallies, called "No One Is Above the Law," were coordinated by the activist group MoveOn in alliance with other progressive groups. They were taking place in prominent public spots such as Times Square, across from the Los Angeles City Hall and at Chicago's Federal Plaza, where hundreds gathered Tuesday night.
In Philadelphia, where protesters gathered near City Hall in Thomas Paine Plaza, Miller said she hoped the protest would show the world that Americans will not stand for Trump's behavior. Trump's crimes are in plain view, she said, among them extortion and bribery.
"It's well past time for citizens to be marching in the streets," she said.
In Fort Worth, Texas, protesters were to assemble near the office of Republican Rep. Kay Granger, who has criticized the impeachment process. The organizer, Kris Savage, acknowledged that their rally, for which 500 had signed up for Monday evening, could be seen as futile.
"Perhaps," she said. "But we feel it's important to make a statement."
Back in Washington, Republicans have argued Trump's behavior was not impeachable and that Democrats should let voters decide his fate in next year's election. Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said the case against the president "dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments."
More than 750 historians countered in a public letter Monday that, "President Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president."
The letter followed the release of a 650-page House Judiciary Committee report alleging that Trump corrupted American elections by demanding a foreign government target one of his rivals. The report called Trump a "threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
Looking ahead to the likely trial in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for hearing testimony from four witnesses "with direct knowledge" of Trump's actions. They include former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
But McConnell dismissed, for now, that possibility, saying Tuesday that it appeared Schumer wanted the Senate to do "House Democrats' homework for them."
“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” McConnell said. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.''
Boston's rally was bipartisan, with not only Democrats invited to speak but also former Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld, who is challenging Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, said Pam Wilmot, the executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, one of the organizers.
"We want to demonstrate that people care about this, that the rule of law is important and that our country will not stand for a fake trial and just sweeping this under the rug," Wilmot said. "This is a serious matter. It should not be about politics."
She said she was worried about the kind of trial the Senate would hold, given McConnell's statements.
"If we let it go now, it will become the norm or at least much more acceptable and that’s not good for America," she said.
For Savage, in Fort Worth, the evidence is clear that Trump improperly tried to use his power as president to get dirt on the Bidens.
"That's just not okay," she said. "That's not okay."
In Los Angeles, at the rally across from City Hall, Katie Hill, the former Democratic congresswoman who resigned earlier this year amid allegations of an affair with an office staff member and the online release of intimate photos, spoke along with actress Alyssa Milano.
"If we simply turn a blind eye to Trump's behavior or let him walk clean, that is a sign for the next president, and those who follow, that they can get away with abuses of power, obstruction of justice and violating the Constitution,'' Kathay Feng, Common Cause's national redistricting director said. "Staying silent is not an option."