Trump pardons Oregon ranchers who were catalyst for protests

The two Oregon ranchers whose arson conviction became the catalyst for the 40-day occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016 have been pardoned by Donald Trump. Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were originally convicted in 2012 of setting a series of fires on their ranch that then spread to federal lands.  They were each sentenced to short prison terms, but the Obama administration appealed their sentence and threw them in jail in 2015 when a judge ruled that they needed to serve a mandatory minimum of five years. That action led to the standoff at the wildlife refuge, where one protester, Robert LaVoy Finicum, was killed. The Hill: In a statement Tuesday announcing the pardon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emphasized uncertainties in the case and the prison terms and fines the Hammonds had already paid. "The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds' responsibility for the...(Read Full Post)