It would start within minutes of special counsel Robert Mueller being fired — a torrent of activity ricocheting through the halls of Congress and over television airwaves, including nearly a thousand protests being prepped from the Virgin Islands to Alaska.
Democrats have drafted a wide-ranging contingency plan should Mueller be fired or President Donald Trump take other steps to quash the Russia investigation, like firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or pardoning key witnesses.
Of top concern in the first 24 hours of such a move would be preventing Mueller’s documents from being destroyed and his team disbanded, according to interviews with nearly a dozen lawmakers, congressional aides, Democratic operatives and attorneys involved in the planning.
Almost immediately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would consult with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Democrats would demand a floor vote on a bill retroactively protecting Mueller and protecting his materials. In both the Senate and House, rank-and-file Democrats would contact a list of sympathetic Republicans who have signaled privately that they’d be willing to act should Trump pull the trigger.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations about how exactly and who and when and where,” Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told NBC News. “There have been several moments when it seemed imminent.”
And in cities across the country, rallies would be hastily scheduled for 5 p.m., if Mueller is fired before 2 p.m. on any given day. If he’s fired in the late afternoon or evening, the protests would be set for noon the following day.
The Democratic group MoveOn.org has been organizing 933 such rallies, with locations picked out and sponsors enlisted to handle logistics. The list includes rallies in big cities like Los Angeles, along with protests in more remote areas, such as the federal buildings in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Hilo, Hawaii.