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Vox Sentences: Pardon me?

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Trump lends a helping hand to the men who inspired the 2016 Oregon armed occupation of federal land; unprecedented weather displaces millions in Japan.

Another presidential pardon

Hammond supporter Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump has pardoned Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammon, a father-son duo convicted of arson in 2012 after a series of fires they set to their property spread to federal land. The investigation uncovered other cases of criminal arson from years prior. [The Hill / Timothy Cama]
  • The Hammonds were originally sentenced to a light prison term by a “sympathetic” judge. But in 2015, an appeals court overturned the original sentence and sent the Hammonds back to prison to complete the minimum five-year sentence. [AP / Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller]
  • The conviction famously inspired armed protesters to seize and occupy the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The standoff with authorities lasted 41 days. [The Oregonian]
  • Trump said “justice is overdue” in a statement defending his decision to pardon the “respected” ranchers. [National Review / Jack Crowe]
  • Trump has forgone the current pardoning system put in place by George W. Bush, who wanted to ensure the practice was done in a fair way. Rather, Trump typically pardons “prominent right-wing figures or folk heroes” with whom his ideologies line up. [Vox / Libby Nelson]
  • Past Trump pardons have been diverse and controversial. He has pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, Scooter Libby, and Joe Arpaio. Trump also commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence in prison for a nonviolent drug offense, after Kim Kardashian urged him to look at her case. [Business Insider / Michelle Mark]
  • Trump’s tendency to pardon based on his own opinions and feelings has worried some that he will pardon members of his inner circle who have pleaded guilty, been indicted, or are currently under investigation by the Mueller probe. [FiveThirtyEight / Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux]
  • However, the real question is: Would Trump pardon himself if the situation presented itself? He believes he has the “absolute” right to do so. The public disagrees. [USA Today / Susan Page and Merdie Nzanga]

Hundreds are dead or missing after torrential rainfall in Japan

  • At least 155 people in Japan have been killed in flooding and landslides. Around 50 more are missing as 70,000 rescue workers search through the destruction. [The Japan Times]
  • Over 2 million people were displaced during the rainfall and cleanup. Over 17,000 are without power. [CNN / Jessie Yeung, Yoko Wakatsuki, and Junko Ogura]
  • River banks overflowed as towns across the country were submerged with anywhere from 23 to 47 inches of rain. The Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures were hit hardest by the weather. [Telegraph / Julian Ryall]
  • This is the country’s “worst weather disaster” in 36 years. [Independent / Samuel Osborne]
  • Residents note that the weather in Japan has recently worsened and rains have reached “unprecedented levels.” City leaders across the country are trying to better prepare for a “next time.” [Al Jazeera / Rob McBride]


  • The entire Thai soccer team and their rescue troupe have been extracted from the Tham Luang cave. After an excruciating 18 days and a perilous journey to exit the cave system, they are now safe. [The Guardian / Matthew Weaver and Helen Davidson]
  • Donald Trump and his team are trying to trademark the phrase “Keep America Great.” If it sounds familiar, that’s because the phrase is from the horror movie “The Purge” — you know, the one where it’s legal in the US to commit any crime (murder being the plotline focus) for 12 hours every year. [Huffington Post / Bill Bradley]
  • Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to charges of committing a forcible sexual act and predatory sexual assault on Monday, July 9. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. [Vulture / Hunter Harris]
  • Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said it is “impossible” to “consistently” enforce hate speech rules on the social network. He may fear banning all forms of hate speech will deter users, but isn’t that what 4chan is for? [The Verge / Shoshana Wodinsky]


“The real face of overregulation has been in the news … after bystanders called the police on three young people ... for peaceful behavior. The incidents serve as a reminder that an overly broad ‘rule,’ even if rarely enforced, can be weaponized at any time.” [Jibran Khan on the dangers that come with the government overregulating the minute details of everyday life / National Review]

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