Ahead of Midterms, Trump Pardons Two More Conservative Heroes

Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via ZUMA

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This isn’t especially important, but just for the record:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned a pair of ranchers convicted of arson on federal lands where they had grazing rights for their cattle, a case that aggravated long-simmering tensions over land use in the Western U.S.

I don’t know or care whether Dwight and Steven Hammond were unfairly sentenced. What I do know is that their case eventually led to the Bundy brothers taking over the Malheur wildlife refuge headquarters in Oregon, becoming a cause célèbre among the “sovereign citizens” and other assorted militia nutballs out here in the West. These folks were all being oppressed by The Man—and the Hammonds in particular were oppressed by Barack Obama—so pardoning them is a politically useful stunt.

Trump appears to be on the lookout for people he can pardon as a way of firing up his base. Who’s next? I’ll put my money on some white cop who was convicted of shooting a black guy. That’s assuming any exist, of course.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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