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Thousands converge at Utah’s state capitol to protest Trump order on national monuments

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More than 5,000 people rallied on the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Saturday afternoon to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected shrinking of two national monument areas in the state.

Trump is expected to visit Utah on Monday and announce cutting the size of Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where drilling and mining are banned.

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Bears Ears is planned to be cut by 85 percent to 201,397 acres (81,503 hectares) and Grand-Escalante to be halved to 997,490 acres (403,670 hectares), the Washington Post reported, citing administration documents.

Trump has argued previous administrations abused their right to designate monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 and put millions of acres, mainly in western states, off limits to drilling, mining, logging and ranching without adequate input from locals.

There was no sign of counter-protesters supporting Trump on the monuments issue on Saturday in Salt Lake City. There was a rally in rural Monticello, Utah, near Bears Ears, that included state and local politicians who supported Trump’s plans.

Pam Johnson, a 64-year-old retiree from Salt Lake City, along with her friends donned brown “bears ears” hats to show support for keeping the two preserves intact.

“We have a beautiful state, and we should leave the open lands alone,” Johnson said.

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Local and state Democratic politicians spoke at the rally, which also included Ethel Branch, attorney general for the Navajo Nation.

“We need places like Bears Ears where the land remains largely untouched … because that affects the potency of our prayers and our ceremonies,” said Branch.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said last month that Trump would reduce the size of the two monuments.

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Trump has pushed to roll back regulations that prevent development and ordered a review of 27 monuments with cultural, historical or scientific importance.

“No matter what happens on Monday, we will defend Bears Ears together,” Branch said.

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The announcement is expected to spark legal battles with environmental groups and Native American tribes.

Bears Ears was designated a national monument by former Democratic President Barack Obama.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was preserved by former Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1996.

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Emily Means

(Reporting by Emily Means in Salt Lake City, Utah; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’

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The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.

Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."

While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.

"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.

"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.

"It was so fast," Floyd replied.

"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

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Bill Barr slammed by ex-FBI official for ignoring the right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois’ infiltrating protests

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Attorney General Bill Barr was slammed by the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for misleading Americans about the source of violence at the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

"There's evidence developing, Brian, that the organization we're seeing of the most violent protesters is coming from a couple of disturbing places," both, by the way, there's disparate in terms in being from the right or the left. here's what those who monitor these groups and sites are seeing.

"We're seeing a far-right group, one group for example known as the Boogaloo Bois, who on their private Facebook page and social media outlets are calling for violence, calling for people to show up," Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC's Brian Williams.

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Trump is the ‘greatest troll in the history of the internet’ and Twitter needs to ‘pull the plug’: NYT columnist

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President Donald Trump would face an existential crisis if Twitter were to enforce it's own rules and hold him accountable -- and one New York Times columnist wants to see it happen.

"C’mon, @Jack. You can do it," Maureen Dowd wrote, referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with his username on the platform.

She urged Dorsey to "just pull the plug on him."

"You could answer the existential question of whether @realDonaldTrump even exists if he doesn’t exist on Twitter. I tweet, therefore I am. Dorsey meets Descartes," she explained. "All it would take is one sweet click to force the greatest troll in the history of the internet to meet his maker."

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