Pittsburgh police prep for Mueller-related riots

Kailey Love | Photo Editor

04/19/2018

Speculation surrounding a potential firing of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is swirling in Pittsburgh this week, following a leaked email from Pittsburgh Police’s Major Crimes Commander Victor Joseph to his detectives.

The email, released via Twitter on the morning of April 18 by WTAE’s Marcie Cipriani, detailed steps that detectives would need to take beginning on April 19 in preparation for a “semi-spontaneous” riot if or when President Trump announced intent to fire Mueller.

“There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of firing,” Joseph said in the email.

Joseph directed detectives to bring “full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear)” to work each day, until directed otherwise.

Mueller, a Republican and former FBI Director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has lead the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia since May 17, 2017, following Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich released a statement concerning the leaked email, stating, “We do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process.”

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police receives information daily that we evaluate and prepare for if the event should occur,” he said. “Often the events we prepare for do not occur. However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto confirmed that preparations are being made for potential riots, but states that the measures are not a cause for concern, via Twitter.

“This is an internal email from a Commander to his plainclothes Detectives. It doesn’t claim to know what the President will do. It doesn’t say people can’t lawfully assemble … It is called being prepared. Enough with conspiracies,” he said in a tweet.

This news breaks following a statement made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on April 17 saying that he would not bring legislation to the floor that would protect Mueller’s investigation.

This bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), is currently moving through the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has stated that he supports moving forward with the bill despite McConnell’s opposition.

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