Oregon ranchers pardoned by Trump return home

Father and son Oregon cattle ranchers convicted of arson but then pardoned by President Trump returned home Wednesday.  A crowd of their supporters greeted their arrival.

Steven Hammond, 46, gave thanks Wednesday to Trump and the many people who wrote to him and his father, 73-year-old Dwight Hammond, while they were in prison.

A crowd of 100 people, including supporters who drove from all over the West Coast, also helped welcome the Hammonds home -- proudly displaying Americans flags on their trucks and signs praising President Trump.

"We're going to do a lot of decompressing and get back to our families," Steven Hammond told reporters and well-wishers after he and his father Dwight stepped from a private jet and into the arms of family members in the high-desert town of Burns.

Just 25 miles away is Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was taken over in 2016 by armed protesters angered by the five-year prison sentences given to the Hammonds after they were convicted of setting fires on federal land.

The standoff lasted 41 days, ending when occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy were arrested and LaVoy Finicum was killed by authorities.

The occupiers, who believe federal control of public lands violates the Constitution, insisted the Hammonds were victimized by federal overreach.

Steven Hammond gave thanks Wednesday to Trump and the many people who wrote to him and his father while they were in prison.

"We received thousands of letters. There's a time you get to that point where a letter means a lot," Steven Hammond said.

The White House released a statement Tuesday saying, in part, “The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West.”

"Trump has, as far as I know, been responsible for the 'buck stops here' stamp. God bless him," Steven Hammond said.

Their case led other ranchers to launch an armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon for 41 days in 2016.

The Hammonds were released Tuesday from a federal prison in California. Their attorney said Wednesday they looking into potential civil action to "make sure they're protected in the future and that these types of things don't continue to happen."

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