Trump pardons ranchers whose imprisonment triggered 2016 Malheur occupation

In this 2016 file photo protesters march on Court Avenue in support of an Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson. Family members were convicted of the arsons in 2012 and served time. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Burns, Oregon., Jan. 2, 2016 | Photo by Les Zaitz of The Oregonian via The Associated Press, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — President Donald Trump has pardoned two ranchers whose case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.

In this Jan. 2, 2016, file photo, rancher Dwight Hammond Jr. greets protesters outside his home in Burns, Ore. President Donald Trump has pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers whose case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. The Hammonds were convicted in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands. | Photo by Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via The Associated Press, St. George News

Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands. The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms.

Prosecutors won an appeal and the Hammonds were resentenced in October 2015 to serve the mandatory minimum.

The decision sparked a protest from Ammon Bundy and dozens of others, who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Hammond ranch in southeastern Oregon from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, 2016, complaining the Hammonds were victims of federal overreach.

The armed occupiers changed the refuge’s name to the Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a very limited right to own property within a state’s borders.

Bundy was arrested during a Jan. 26 traffic stop, effectively ending the protest. Another key occupier, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was fatally shot that day by Oregon State Police.

In a statement Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called that decision to resentence the Hammonds “unjust.” She said:

The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West. Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.

The pardons are the latest in a growing list of clemency actions by Trump, who has been using his pardon power with increasingly frequency in recent months.

Trump has been especially pleased with news coverage of his actions, which included commuting the sentence of Alice Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses whose case had been championed by reality television star Kim Kardashian West.

He has repeatedly referenced emotional video of Johnson being freed from prison and running into her family members’ arms, and has said he’s considering thousands more cases — both famous and not.

But critics say the president could be ignoring valid claims for clemency as he works outside the typical pardon process, focusing on cases brought to his attention by friends, famous people and conservative media pundits.

Aides say that Trump has been especially drawn to cases in which he believes the prosecution may have been politically motivated — a situation that may remind him of his own position at the center of the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling.

Many have also seen the president as sending a signal with his pardons to former aides and associates caught up in the probe, or lashing out at enemies like former FBI Director James Comey, who oversaw the prosecution of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, whom Trump has said he is thinking of pardoning.

 

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20 Comments

  • cindybanks91 July 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Praise God, that justice has been done. The evil done by Obama Administration was beyond belief. All so Hillary could get ahold of the Uranium. May the Hammond’s have a joyous reunion with their family and friends. And a real debt of gratitude to our President who clear recognizes good from evil.

    • sglibtards@gmail.com July 10, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      Trump! Trump! Trump!

      • bikeandfish July 11, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        How many sockpuppet accounts do you have now, John?

        • John July 11, 2018 at 2:03 pm

          hahahahahahaha!! It’s not me you pompous irrelevant blowhard! I’m not the only one who thinks you are an intolerable clueless “know it all” . If you had half a brain you would be no filter..hahahahahahaha!

          • comments July 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

            I don’t believe it’s john. John is a very simple degenerate that posts the same sort of thing over and over. John is a talking turd who’s mind lives in the sewer and this makes him predicatable. This newer troll is a child degenerate who puts in all kinds of effort–changing his username 5x a day, etc. It’s quite cute. 😉

          • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 7:22 pm

            Thats a fair a guess, comments.

        • Mike P July 11, 2018 at 11:04 pm

          I’m guessing comments, john and 42214 are one in the same. Or that their at least in bed together. But, what do I know. I WASN’T there !!

    • bikeandfish July 10, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      And how is sentencing the Hammonds to five years “evil”?

      • John July 11, 2018 at 9:03 am

        GO VOTE FOR OBAMA AGAIN BLOWHARD!

    • RadRabbit July 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Trump 2020! MAGA

  • Not_So_Much July 11, 2018 at 6:42 am

    bikeandfish, you might want to look at the facts in the case. Thanks Mr President.

    • bikeandfish July 11, 2018 at 10:08 am

      I have. I even sourced the antiterrorism law regarding arson.

      So back to the original point….how was five years in prison “evil” or an over reach given the details?

      • John July 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm

        Apparently you get your facts from the leftards at MSNBC, that’s why you are always wrong.. Keep chasing that carrot loser!

        • bikeandfish July 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          As always, you prevent such a compelling argument.

        • John July 11, 2018 at 7:51 pm

          Arguing with bikeandfish is like trying to make a marmot talk. Total waste of time.! Trump made a commitment to clean the air ! why don’t you go and hold your breath blowhard! Bikeandfish will argue even when you try to agree with the irrelevant know it all..Pompous insignificant blowhards like her just can’t help themselves

  • chris keele July 11, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Cindy ,and not so much, I could not agree more, thank God we finally have a President that is concerned about the American people, and the injustice that has been perpetrated on them. Keep up the great work President trump and God bless you, your Family, and your administration.

  • RadRabbit July 11, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I hope President Trump will pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two Border Patrol agents who were wrongly jailed and although their sentences were commuted they still have criminal records for simply doing their jobs. This needs to be made right.

  • AnnieMated July 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I actually find myself agreeing with the president here. These guys didn’t do anything wrong (at least not intentionally). The Bundy’s however…..well that’s another story.

    I don’t know why the people equate the two; The Hammonds stated publicly multiple times that they wanted nothing to do with Bundy or his “gang”.

    • bikeandfish July 11, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Its my understanding that a family member was a court witness who stated under oath that they set the fire on purpose and wanted it to get out of control. They had repeatedly burned without permits. The last one ran iut of control into a wildland fire crew working on the main fire the Hanmonds illegally tried to back burn.

  • Lee Saunders July 12, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    ‘The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West. Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.” Amazing! just because you are supported by your neighbors, does that make it okay to break the law? I suspect that they are decent fellows, but that shouldn’t mean that you can ignore the laws of our country and get away with it. Will/have we seen him pardon their Nevada cohorts? This “president” is out of control. I say “president” in quotes because more Americans voted against him than for him. This system sucks!

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