Turns out Republican lawmakers played a role in keeping the FBI from rounding up Ammon Bundy and his merry band of armed seditionists in Oregon for weeks while they interfered with the proceedings and allowed the mess to drag on. The story from Oregon Public Broadcasting:
On a cold January morning, a posse led by a former Army company commander named Matt Shea rolled into the Harney County Courthouse and wanted to speak to the sheriff.
But this wasn’t a group of militants, or outlaws. They were state lawmakers from four western states, including Oregon. Most of them were members of a group called the Coalition of Western States, or COWS.
They were hoping to talk directly with Sheriff David Ward and convince him to support the armed militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Instead, COWS members would meet that day with a Harney County deputy and a sheriff from another county, an FBI agent and other local officials.
The out-of-town visitors presented themselves as wanting to help understand and, if possible, end the armed occupation at the refuge.
“I’m just looking at peaceful resolve,” said Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a COWS member who was patched into the meeting by phone.
“That’s our intent,” agreed Shea, a state representative from Washington. “If there’s any opportunity to save life and prevent any further escalation of anything, I think we all agree we should take those opportunities.”
Oregon Republican State Rep. Dallas Heard also attended the meeting, however he says he is not a member of COWS.
The 90-minute conversation was recorded by participants at the Jan. 9 meeting and given to OPB.
On the recording, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty thanks the group for their concern, but asks them to stay away from the refuge. Grasty said the militants were showing signs of fatigue and defeat, and worried that a visit from lawmakers would reinvigorate Ammon Bundy and the rest of the occupiers.
“If we’re getting close (to a resolution), and you embolden Bundy by your presence, and this runs on for weeks and months, it will be awful in this community,” Grasty said.
The FBI agent also asked the lawmakers not to visit the refuge.
Those pleas fell on deaf ears. And Grasty’s prediction came true.
COWS representatives visited the refuge, which was closed to the public. The lawmakers acknowledge they fed the militants information gathered from that meeting, and militant leaders talked openly about what they learned from those disclosures.
“These lawmakers have shown great courage to support us,” said Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who would later die after being shot by state police. “Much more than others who refused to come and look us in the eye.”
The visit was the latest step in an ongoing and organized campaign by these lawmakers, essentially the political arm of the militant movement, to make a once-radical political cause part of the mainstream.
In other words, Fiore and Shea and other Republican state lawmakers belonging to COWS gave material support to domestic terrorists. There's not really room for too much debate here, these lawmakers gave Bundy's thugs information and support to avoid federal law enforcement, and then Bundy's crew bragged openly about how these lawmakers helped them.
Seems to me some Republicans need to be answering some very uncomfortable questions about high crimes against the federal government committed while in office.
But for some odd reason, I'm betting Fiore and Shea and the others won't have to face consequences of their actions. Perhaps voters would see reason, but this is a party that wants to see Donald Trump as president.
Time to start busting down office doors, I suspect. You make yourself an enemy of the state like that, maybe the state should treat you like one.