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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A large crowd gathered near Philadelphia City Hall on Thursday evening in support of protecting the Mueller investigation, a day after Attorney General Sessions was forced out.

The rally took place at Thomas Paine Plaza as people joined in a nationwide protest to respond to the hiring of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

District Attorney Larry Krasner was among those at the rally, demanding Whitaker recuse himself from the Russia investigation due to conflicts of interest.

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Sessions’ resignation, in a one-page letter to President Donald Trump, came one day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and was the first of several expected post-midterms Cabinet and White House departures. Though Sessions was an early and prominent campaign backer of Trump, his departure letter lacked effusive praise for the president and made clear the resignation came “at your request.”

“Since the day I was honored to be sworn in as attorney general of the United States, I came to work at the Department of Justice every day determined to do my duty and serve my country,” Sessions wrote.

The departure was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into Sessions’ tenure, when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation because of his campaign advocacy and following the revelation that he had met twice in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Trump blamed the recusal for the appointment of Mueller, who took over the Russia investigation two months later and began examining whether Trump’s hectoring of Sessions was part of a broader effort to obstruct the probe.

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The investigation has so far produced 32 criminal charges and guilty pleas from four former Trump aides. But the work is not done and critical decisions await that could shape the remainder of Trump’s presidency.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)