Legal Experts Furious Over Trump Pardon of Arsonists Whose Actions Sparked Occupation of Federal Property


'No Good Reason for These Pardons'

'As an Oregonian, I'm Disgusted'

President Donald Trump Tuesday morning pardoned two Oregon ranchers whose illegal actions inspired, or "sparked," a 41 day siege and occupation of federal government offices and land that culminated with the death of one of their supporters.

Many remember well Cliven Bundy, the racist rancher who owed over $1 million in grazing fees to the federal government. So-called "sovereign citizens" and "militia" men came to his aid in 2014 during a standoff that pitted the heavily armed anti-government extremists against federal law enforcement agents – the very people President Trump always claims to support.

In 2016, Bundy's sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, to protest the federal government's treatment of two local ranchers who had been convicted of arson on tens of thousands of acres of federal lands. Among the several fires they set, at least one of reportedly directly threatened the lives of at least four firefighters.

Those two ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, were just pardoned by the President of the United States, and legal experts – along with some who personally lived through the occupation that forced area schools and businesses to close for over a month – are furious.

Calling the pardons "astonishing," former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, now a frequent legal contributor on MSNBC, wrote: "There is no good reason for these pardons. Trump is using a tool meant to do justice in a wholly arbitrary fashion."

She added:

Anti-government extremism expert and writer JJ MacNab, who covered minute-by-minute the Bundy sons' siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge calls the Hammonds "Serial arsonists who threatened the lives of federal employees and used a sander on a kid's skin to punish him."

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Ryan Haas notes that Trump's pardon lets the Bundy family claim "complete victory."

More weigh in:


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