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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.

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

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.

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

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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Netanyahu refuses to concede after he falls short — blames media instead

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Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refused to concede after being down in the election night polls. Like the last election, Netanyahu is claiming his own personal victory and blaming the media for all of his woes.

Senior Diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid, at Channel 13 News in Tel-Aviv, was live-tweeting the election results late Tuesday night.

https://twitter.com/barakravid/status/1174116674225758209?s=21

"Netanyahu says Israel needs a Zionist government that is committed for Israel as a Jewish state. No government can be based on support from Arab parties," Ravid said.

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Mitch McConnell crony running for Kentucky AG is ineligible for office: lawsuit

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On Tuesday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a new lawsuit seeks to remove Daniel Cameron from the ballot as the Kentucky GOP's nominee for state attorney general.

According to the lawsuit, filed by retired union worker and "concerned citizen" Joseph Leon Jackson Sr. in Jefferson Circuit Court, Cameron does not meet the office requirement of having practiced law for eight years — because although he was admitted by the Kentucky Bar Association in 2011, he spent two of the following years clerking for U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.

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Trump lashes out at Lindsey Graham after he accuses the president of showing ‘weakness’

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President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham, once bitter enemies, have become close allies since the 2016 election as the South Carolina Republican realized it was in his personal interest to cozy up to the White House. But on Tuesday, fractures emerged between the two in public over a key issue for Graham: Iran.

Graham is on the severely hawkish wing of the Republican Party, and he clearly wants a war with Iran. He began a series of tweets Tuesday by praising Vice President Mike Pence’s briefing that day about the recent attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, saying he believes that “such a sophisticated attack could not have occurred without Iran’s blessing and direct involvement.” He called it an “an act of war” and lauded the Trump administration’s “efforts to create a regional coalition, thoroughly brief the Congress on the actions taken, and come up with a plan of action to restore deterrence against an evil regime in Iran.”

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