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‘I didn’t come here to shoot, I came here to die’: Oregon militia occupiers fess up to local reporters

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While headliners from the national media are either en route or remaining in their studios to cover the militia takeover of a federal building in Burns, Oregon, local reporters are working the front lines and tweeting updates as the armed “patriots” settle into what they say will be a long occupation.

On social media, many have complained about the big networks either passing on the militia takeover story or soft-pedaling it.  Local reporters, who covered the Hammond trial and saw militia members begin to gather in the small town, have set up their own camp outside of the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to report on their doings.

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Writing for OPB, Amanda Peacher stated that early estimates of 150 occupiers are wildly inflated, saying, “only a few dozen men are occupying the federal building.”

According to Peacher, federal employees were advised to stay clear of the refuge, in a memo that read: “Our top concern is employee safety. All employees are accounted for, and the Refuge will be closed until further notice. Employees of all land management agencies in the area will operate from alternate worksites, telework, or administrative leave.”

Outside of the refuge, she interviewed one militia member — identifying himself only as “Capt. Moroni” — who told her, “I didn’t come here to shoot, I came here to die.”

A series of tweets from Peacher below:

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According to Jason Wilson, who drove in from Portland to cover the stand-off for the Guardian, “There were no law enforcement agents visible in the area around the refuge. A man with a goatee beard and wraparound sunglasses stood guard, armed with an AR-15-style rifle, and refused entry to the federally owned facility.”

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“He declined to give his name or affiliation, citing ‘operational security,'” Wilson wrote. “He did confirm, however, that the men – several of whom were openly carrying assault weapons – would be camping on the site. ‘This public land belongs to we the people,’ he said. ‘We’ll be here enjoying the snow and the scenery.’”

Wilson was also one of the first to photograph armed militiamen as they began the takeover of the federal facility.

OregonLive reporter Les Zaitz was the first to speak with ringleader Ammon Bundy who told him, “The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds. We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely. This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”

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According to Zaitz, the FBI is in charge at the scene because the refuge is on federal property.

Additionally, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police are on the scene as well. Zaitz tweeted this morning that Bundy had scheduled a press conference for 11AM.

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GOP leader McCarthy swats aside Fiona Hill’s national security testimony debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theory

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On Thursday, during one of the final scheduled impeachment hearings this week, National Security Council official Fiona Hill demolished President Donald Trump's conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, meddled in the 2016 election, calling it a "fictional narrative" and noting that it originated with the Kremlin itself.

But in conversation with reporters, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) flatly disbelieved Hill's testimony, and insisted he still held onto the theory.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told me that he was not going to lose any GOP votes during impeachment.

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Nicolle Wallace breaks down the impeachment moment ‘women will be talking about for years’

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Thursday highlighted one of the key moments from the impeachment inquiry testimony from Dr. Fiona Hill.

"Often when women show anger, it’s not fully appreciated. It’s often, you know, pushed onto emotional issues perhaps, or deflected on other people," Hill testified.

Here's Fiona Hill on why she thinks Sondland misunderstood her anger — and how women's anger is often viewed, more generally: "It's not fully appreciated. It's often pushed off onto emotional issues." pic.twitter.com/AsMR3A9InI

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Mulvaney lawyer denies Mick was ‘so heavily involved’ — despite his White House briefing room confession

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was referenced multiple times during Dr. Fiona Hill's testimony Thursday, but Mulvaney's lawyer said he doesn't understand why.

"We have no idea why Ms. Hill believes Mr. Mulvaney was so heavily involved, especially in light of Ambassador Sondland’s contrary testimony," said Fox News reporter Chad Pergram, quoting a statement from Robert Driscoll.

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1197633921065930753

As former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance pointed out, Hill recalled during her testimony how angry she was about Sondland not briefing her. She said that after hearing his testimony Wednesday and learning he was briefing Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Mulvaney and President Donald Trump. She then decided he was correct-they had separate missions and Sondland was on a domestic political errand.

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