For 114 weeks, Amee Stewart and Rosemary McGee have been joining the Tuesdays with Tillis rallies outside of Senator Thom Tillis’s Raleigh office to advocate for economic justice, minority rights and health care.

“It started as a result of the election, but it has become so much more,” Stewart said. 

Over time, they have seen more support pouring from advocacy groups and individuals, they say, but U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have been unresponsive to the protesters on all issues, including making public the long-awaited report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Tuesday morning they joined about forty-two others gathered at the State Capitol building for a rally demanding that North Carolina’s senators support a transparency act, Senate Bill 236, to make Mueller’s report open to Congress and the public, instead of just a summary that President Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr is required to give.

“It is absolutely essential for openness, transparency, and for America to judge whether there’s been an obstruction of justice,” state Senator Floyd Mckissick told the crowd.

Mueller’s report is a ​federal investigation into anyone affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign engaging in criminal collusion or conspiracy with  Russia. Thus far, the investigation has resulted in at least thirty-four known indictments including Paul Manafort, Trump’s presidential campaign chair, who was sentenced to almost four years of prison for financial fraud and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen who received three years imprisonment for campaign-finance violations and lying to Congress.  

A majority of Americans, including the President himself, want the report made public, according to A Washington Post-Schar School poll that found 81 percent of American adults think the report should be published, including 79 percent of Republicans, and a PBS survey that found that 75 percent of Americans are in favor of releasing the document.

Barr’s four-page summary is available online for the public to read. It confirms that Russia’s  Internet Research Agency sought to “sow social discord, eventually with the aim of  interfering with the election.” Barr says that Mueller found that no one affiliated with the Trump campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Kremlin. Barr quotes Mueller’s conclusion that “while this report does not conclude that the President commited a crime, it also does not  exonerate him.” Mueller left it to Barr to determine whether or not “the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” Barr and Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein determined that there is not enough evidence to establish that Trump obstructed justice. 

According to Susana Thomas with Law Works NC, a local branch of the national advocacy group and one of the groups that organized Tuesday’s rally, the summary does not reveal very much.

“Nearly two years of tireless work cannot be synthesized in four pages,” she said at the rally. “… We still expect and demand more transparency.”

Though Barr promises in his document to eventually make the report public after redactions are made, his previous statements on executive power in a​ June 2018 memo to  Rosenstein​, and his past reluctance to promise any more than the law requires of him, worry advocacy groups involved in Tuesday’s rally – Law Works NC, Indivisible and Progress NC Action.

When the groups planned Tuesday’s rally they did not expect the report the be finished. But because the there has been no promise to release the report, the situation has not changed much since the groups’ March 7 town hall meeting, where they urged North Carolinians lobby Burr and Tillis to support SB 236, which would require Barr to make the full report public with necessary redactions. An identical bill passed unanimously through the U.S. House of Representatives.

State Senator Wiley Nickel said at the rally that Barr’s “sanitized and slanted” summary “flies in the face” of that vote.

The protestors gathered their nearly five thousand signatures and marched to Tillis’s office chanting “Democracy is under attack; what do we do? Stand up fight back.”

As usually happens when protestors deliver petitions to Senators’ offices, a police officer, who was phoned beforehand, came out to reject the signatures because law states that a federal building cannot take paper in from outside as a matter of safety.

“Were doing this in a symbolic fashion, but they’re going to be mailed to his office, and we’re going to make sure every single petition gets to him directly,” said Thomas, acknowledging Tillis’s following of safety protocol.  

Thomas is confident that he will get the gesture, especially given that next year is an election year.

“It’s an important time for him to listen to his constituents. And he has been on the record saying he wants to see much of this made public, so we think it’s in his best  interest to listen to his constituents on this, “ she said. “… I think it’s a common sense choice on this.”

Tillis’s support could make a big difference to the bill, and the groups appreciate his past actions to support the investigation, but Tillis has not reached out to the advocacy groups, Thomas said, nor has he made any public statements addressing the issue.

Senator Burr, who is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also supported a bill to protect Mueller’s investigation, but he has been silent about SB 236. Burr did released a statement on Friday, when Barr received the report, saying “I trust Special Counsel Mueller has conducted a fair and thorough investigation, and I look forward to reviewing his report.” He also tweeted the day the summary was released that “Barr should release as much of the report as possible, without jeopardizing U.S. intelligence sources and methods or ongoing Department of Justice prosecutions.”

After the march, protestors remained outside the federal building to hold another Tuesday with Tillis rally, their passion continuing to the 115th week.