Trump Regime

Trump Pardons a Pair of Federal Land Arsonists

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

When a group of armed militiamen occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, they did so in response to the prosecution of a pair of local ranchers who intentionally burned federal land. The militiamen claimed the prosecution and conviction of the ranchers was illegitimate because the federal government does not legitimately own the land (it does) or any other public lands in the country for that matter.

Those ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, have now been pardoned by Trump.

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

“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,” she said. “Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.”

To be entirely clear and specific, here's what the Hammonds were convicted for.

From the Oregon Attorney General's office:

The jury convicted both of the Hammonds of using fire to destroy federal property for a 2001 arson known as the Hardie-Hammond Fire, located in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. Witnesses at trial, including a relative of the Hammonds, testified the arson occurred shortly after Steven Hammond and his hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer on BLM property. Jurors were told that Steven Hammond handed out “Strike Anywhere” matches with instructions that they be lit and dropped on the ground because they were going to “light up the whole country on fire.” One witness testified that he barely escaped the eight to ten foot high flames caused by the arson. The fire consumed 139 acres of public land and destroyed all evidence of the game violations. After committing the arson, Steven Hammond called the BLM office in Burns, Oregon and claimed the fire was started on Hammond property to burn off invasive species and had inadvertently burned onto public lands. Dwight and Steven Hammond told one of their relatives to keep his mouth shut and that nobody needed to know about the fire.

The jury also convicted Steven Hammond of using fire to destroy federal property regarding a 2006 arson known as the Krumbo Butte Fire located in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Steen Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. An August lightning storm started numerous fires and a burn ban was in effect while BLM firefighters fought those fires. Despite the ban, without permission or notification to BLM, Steven Hammond started several “back fires” in an attempt save the ranch’s winter feed. The fires burned onto public land and were seen by BLM firefighters camped nearby. The firefighters took steps to ensure their safety and reported the arsons.

You may recall that the Hammonds dissociated themselves from the militiamen who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but that definitely will not stop the militia movement from claiming this as some kind of symbolic victory. And I suppose it is, except anyone who is convicted of similar actions while Trump is in office probably won't even be considered for a pardon.

I believe Trump's pardons can be directly attributed to his clear belief that everyone, not just himself, operates exclusively in bad faith.

From his pardons of Dinesh D'ouchebag to the Hammonds, Trump is pardoning these people because they were convicted while President Obama was in office even if Obama had nothing to do with it. Trump believes all actions are maliciously and politically motivated because all of his own actions are.

This could explain almost all of Trump's behavior from his pardons, to his trade war, to his rhetorical war on NATO and the European Union. He believes the whole world is corrupt because he is corrupt. Trump believes he's the only person capable of navigating the world because only he understands that everyone and everything is for sale just like him.

  • Victor the Crab

    Next lowlife person to receive a Drumpf pardon: PharmaBro Martin Shkreli. ‘Cuz the feds were being big stoopid poopy heads over PharmaScum bragging about how rich he was by jacking up life saving medicine that was out of reach for average Americans.

  • muselet

    I’m with Josh Marshall:

    As outrageous as the Dinesh D’Souza pardon was, I’m not terribly concerned that there’s going to be a ramp up in middle-aged racist charlatans using their mistresses as straw donors in federal campaigns. But President Trump’s pardon of the militia types who inspired the Bundy militia standoff back in early 2016 really is like announcing open season on federal law enforcement.

    [link omitted]

    This goes beyond Donald Trump’s inability to understand human relations other than transactionally, beyond even his burning desire to erase Barack Obama from history. This is a weird sort of nihilism in service of Righty obsessions and Trump’s narcissism.

    No good thing will come of these pardons.


  • katanahamon

    Real criminals, like those Rump pardoned, are cheering everywhere. Who knows what ills are hurriedly being perpetrated in the hopes they’ll just be pardoned..disgusting.

  • I think you’re understanding of Trump is spot on. He is unable to conceive of a world in which people do things for the right reasons or with altruistic motivation. As such he has no business being President of the United States.

  • Dawn4332

    You are ill informed on this entire event, :

    the acreage was used for grazing for hundreds of years by these ranchers who need these lands for their cattle, the Bundy’s care about the land its their livlihood and FEDS only begun to harrass The Bundy’s after Clinton started selling Uranium:
    and found substantial evidence Bundy’s Ranch sits on more Uranium.

    • JMAshby

      No, I’m not ill informed at all.

      The Hammonds haven’t been alive for “hundreds of years”
      They burned land outside of the grazing area
      The Bundy family had and still has millions in unpaid grazing fees (this is an unrelated case)
      Clinton didn’t “sell Uranium” to anyone
      There’s no Uranium here

      What right wing rag sent you here?

      • katanahamon

        Moderate the trolls off the site..their fake information shouldn’t even be in print..or..electronic print!

        • JMAshby

          I actually did because they posted several separate comments about Uranium conspiracy theories in a row. I deleted those and allowed the first comment to stay as an example.

    • Badgerite

      The Clinton’s didn’t “sell uranium.” They don’t own any uranium or any land with any uranium on it.
      The main departments that had to sign off on sales of uranium to foreign interests would be the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the President.
      The land that the ranchers ‘need’ is federal land and no one prohibited the Bundys from using it. What they objected to was them using it without paying the rest of us, who own that property as that is what federal land means, from paying us for its use. Given that they are millionaire ranchers, that doesn’t seem like a hardship.

    • Aynwrong

      No! No! No!

      The uranium is just a cover. It’s what they want you to think. The truth is that is a massive underground lair where the shape shifting lizard people hold their secret meeting with the Bilderbergs to decide where the mind controlling killer bees should be released next. The Bundy’s are just the upstairs doormen.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cash another one of those sweet, sweet George Soros checks.

      *I just realized that “Soros” is my autocorrect. THEY FOUND ME!11!!11!

      • Ix-nay on the onfessions-cay!

    • Ellen Kuhlmann

      its public land. grazing is only one of its potential uses. It belongs to the public, not the ranchers.

    • Also, pretty sure Native Americans used it for hundreds of years before any of these asshole ranchers showed up. How about we give it back to them?