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Attorney for Bundy occupiers questions feds’ $6-million price tag for wildlife refuge damage

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An attorney for a leader of the 41-day armed protest at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Saturday questioned the $6 million price tag cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency for dealing with the occupation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife director Dan Ashe said at a news conference in Oregon on Wednesday that those costs included restoration of the refuge near Burns and increased law enforcement patrols elsewhere after the six-week occupation, which ended on Feb. 11.

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In response, Michael Arnold, an attorney for protest leader Ammon Bundy who faces conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with the occupation, said the government should not use the protest as a blank check for unwarranted expenses.

“This protest should not be a government expenditure lottery ticket,” Arnold said. “I’ve only heard of one wall damaged in the whole set of buildings.”

The protest marked the latest flare-up in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres in the West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency spent $2.5 million to station more law enforcement officers at its Western facilities, because it feared the anti-government protest could spread beyond eastern Oregon where armed activists staged their occupation, Ashe said.

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That represented the largest share of the more than $6 million spent by the agency, Ashe said.

The figure also includes $1.7 million to restore the refuge itself and costs to relocate 17 employees from the center, when those workers moved with their families to major cities because of threats against them, Ashe said.

“This occupation obviously has cost the federal taxpayer millions and millions of dollars,” he said.

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A representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment immediately on Saturday on Arnold’s contentions.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which headed a law enforcement operation to encircle and arrest several of the anti-government protesters, has not released its expenditures from the occupation.

A representative for the FBI could not be reached for comment on the agency’s costs.

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Oregon lawmakers earlier this month voted to set aside $2 million for Harney County, the location of the protest, to reimburse it for police overtime and other costs if the federal government does not underwrite those expenses.

More than 25 participants in the protest have been charged in federal court. Robert “LaVoy” Finicum who served as a spokesman for the group, was shot and killed by police on Jan. 26 in a confrontation on a snow-covered road.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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