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GOP Senators Just Gave George Soros The Worst News Of His Life

Billionaire progressive activist George Soros has been a one-man wrecking ball when it comes to opposing conservative politicians and agendas. He has a stated goal of bringing down the United States.

Yet some of his momentum may have been halted by GOP senators looking to oppose the left-wing backer, according to Fox News. They requested that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson investigate how much of Soros’s empire is supported by taxpayers’ dollars and to put a stop to it.

On Tuesday, a letter asking Secretary Tillerson to conduct an investigation was sent by Republican senators who’ve suspected agencies like the United States Agency for International Development of having ties to Soros and Soros-funded entities, and supporting the influencing of foreign elections.

According to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), there have been a number of foreign officials report interference in their recent elections. “This includes reports of diplomats playing political favorites, USAID funds supporting extreme and sometimes violent political activists, and the US government working to marginalize the moderates and conservatives in leadership roles,” Lee said. “This sort of political favoritism from our mission around the world is unacceptable.”

The USAID donated $5 million in taxpayer dollars over a four year period to the Open Society Foundations, an organization run by Soros. The group claims its mission is to “build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.”

Officials from Macedonia claim the organization is really working with Soros to promote politicians pushing liberal and progressive agendas and seeks to influence the elections held there. Claims have also been made that various violent demonstrations and a Macedonian edition of Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky have been funded by the group.

The senators also point to similar issues occurring in Albania, saying, “Respected leaders from Albania have made similar claims of US diplomats and Soros-backed organizations pushing for certain political outcomes in their country. The destabilizing effects of such actions in a NATO country are clear and the threat of further escalation eminent as Albania anticipates parliamentary elections later this year.”

Soros’s campaign for global leftism has been underway for a very long time, according to The Washington Times. In 1998 he stated that the US needed to be subjugated to the will of foreign parties as part of a global government: “The sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions. We need some global system of political decision-making. In short, we need a global society to support our global economy.”

Wikileaks released a number of emails showing the close ties Soros has with Democrats. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), said if Hillary Clinton had won the election it would have opened the door wide for Soros to influence the US. “The fact that Hillary Clinton and her campaign are so closely aligned with George Soros and his radical agenda is serious cause for alarm,” Hunter said.

Hunter credited the emails with revealing their camaraderie, saying, “Publicly, it’s a relationship she’s never really talked up, but communications at least now reveal how closely aligned they are, and Americans deserve to know that a Clinton presidency means even more direct influence from George Soros.”

Soros’s meddling in foreign political affairs with the help of left-wing organizations using taxpayer dollars is a disturbing allegation. Hopefully, GOP senators have convinced Secretary Tillerson to conduct an investigation and come to the bottom of Soros’s dealings and put a stop to his left-based agendas.

 

 

Eric Bolling Makes Shock Announcement

Following an article claiming several women received lewd texts from Eric Bolling, Fox News was forced to suspend him pending an investigation.

Despite the controversy and allegations, Bolling remains adamant that he never participated in the texts. He remains confident everything will be resolved saying in a tweet “Overwhelmed by all the support I have received. Thank you, I look forward to clearing my name asap.”

Bolling is a Fox News host known for his time on The Five and currently hosts The Specialists. He is known to be an avid Trump supporter and was one of the few in media who believed Trump would win the presidency during the 2016 elections.

In describing Trump, Bolling said, “When he came down the escalator with Melania, I looked across the newsroom. Every single pair of eyeballs were staring at the screen. This guy has something that we can’t describe.”

The allegations come from an article written by the Huffington Post, where multiple anonymous women, who worked–and are currently working–with Bolling on Fox, said he sent several unsolicited lewd texts three years ago.

The women claim they know the messages are from Bolling because they recognize the number to be his. Huffington Post claims it found an additional 14 sources that corroborate the allegations, but all sources have remained anonymous.

The allegations represent the third scandal to hit Fox News, following the resignation of Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment charges, and Bill O’Reilly was fired following a New York Times article claiming he spent millions settling multiple sexual harassment cases.

Bolling has made it clear that the allegations aren’t true. His attorney, Michael J. Bowe, gave the following statement “Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”

Bowe also told Breitbart News, “The story is based on anonymous sources and not true. No such communications occurred.”

It’s hard to imagine Bolling committing such an act, considering his stark words against Anthony Weiner when he pled guilty to sending lewd images to minors. “He is a sick human being, to continue to do this time and time again, continue to get caught, say he’s not going to do it again, gets caught again.”

While it is unclear whether the allegations are true, or if the article making them is considered fake news, it is highly suspicious that all of the women making the claims and the 14 sources supporting those claims in the article have all remained anonymous.

Huffington Post claims the sources all requested anonymity as they are currently working with 21st Century Fox and have signed confidentiality reports requiring authorization to talk to the press.

Even if the allegations are determined false, it would still be a blemish on Bolling’s career and will take him a while to regain face. It may also hurt his chances for running for political office as he stated in an interview in June “When the lights go down on my TV career the next step is running for Senate.”

Until then we’ll have to see whether he will return to Fox exonerated or if the lights will go down permanently on his TV career.

Trump Just WON Round 1 With North Korea!

The mainstream media are aghast at President Donald Trump’s comments on North Korea as he promises “fire and fury” and warns that American military solutions are “locked and loaded.”

The political elite, and the foreign policy establishment, oscillate between bitter scorn and sheer panic at his tactics. But one does not have to be convinced of Trump’s rhetorical genius to note that he has already re-framed the conflict in a way that is advantageous to the U.S.

From Breitbart

First, Trump has radically changed the costs of a potential conflict, for both sides. The dominant paradigm of nuclear face-offs is mutually assured destruction (MAD), which is why the Soviet Union and the U.S. never attacked each other during the Cold War. Most of the discussion about North Korea has followed the same pattern, because of the threat of ICBMs to the U.S. mainland. After Trump threatened to annihilate North Korea, however, Kim Jong-un threatened to attack … Guam. Trump doubled down, indicating that a North Korean attack on Guam would trigger an attack against the regime. That shifted the costs of a war radically in our favor and against theirs.

Second, it is noteworthy that the North Korean threat to Guam did not refer to nuclear weapons, but rather hinted at conventional missile strikes. There is no way to know for sure that the regime would not use nuclear weapons, if indeed the North Koreans can miniaturize them, but a conventional attack is certainly less serious than a nuclear one. In threatening the most violent possible attack, Trump elicited a response that is significantly less threatening.

Third, Trump diverted attention away from North Korea’s more vulnerable neighbors, South Korea and Japan. Of course the North Koreans could attack them if the U.S. launched a war. But instead of talking about the potential deaths of millions of people in densely-populated areas, the world is now talking about the qualms felt by a few people on a remote island. That makes Trump’s words look less scary, and eases pressure for the U.S. to back down.

Update: Fourth, the Chinese government is now indicating that it will not defend North Korea from a retaliatory strike if the regime attacks the U.S. (which includes Guam). The Global Times, which reflects the view of the Chinese government, indicated that China would stop the U.S. from trying to overthrow the North Korean regime but would not defend North Korea if it struck the U.S. first. That is a significant change from the status quo ante.

The situation remains unstable, and could escalate. But Trump’s rhetoric is not, as former Obama adviser Susan Rice claims, the problem. In fact, it is part of the solution. It has, at the very least, restored some of our deterrence.

Hours After Trump Says America Is Locked And Loaded, US Military Sends Guam Epic Present

/author/benjamin-dekraker/arie

Donald Trump’s strong stance on North Korea is getting a lot of attention, and his actions are backing up his words.

Right after the president assured the world that the United States was “locked and loaded” to deal with the rogue nation, an epic “present” arrived on the island of Guam: B-1B bombers from the U.S. Air Force.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” Trump posted on Twitter on Friday. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Also on Friday, but on the other side of the world, powerful American bombers touched down in Guam, according to KRON News.

That small island is an American protectorate, and home to a major U.S. military base. It also may be in Kim Jong Un’s cross hairs.

The reclusive dictator of North Korea has threatened to launch ballistic missilestoward American troops, as a show of force or belligerence against the west

If the U.S. Air Force has anything to say about that, North Korea may have another thing coming.

“B-1B Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s (U.S. Forces Korea) #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so,” posted the official Twitter account of Pacific Command.

Air Force pilots reportedly also engaged in joint exercises with South Korean and Japanese allies in the skies near the conflict area.

President Trump has recently come under criticism for using no-nonsense language when talking about the Korean threat, including the phrase “fire and fury” to describe what would happen if the dictatorship continues to provoke other countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the president for those words, and scolded that “escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer.”

However, Trump was quick to shrug off Merkel’s disdain.

“Let her speak for Germany,” he said on Friday. “She’s certainly not referring to the United States.”

The reality is that years of weakness from presidents including Clinton, Carter, and Obama helped lead the country to the situation we are now in.

After decades of soft talk and no action, it’s refreshing to have a president who doesn’t back down from a bully like Kim Jong Un.

Nobody wants to see a conflict on the Korean Peninsula… but if the dictator there continues to threaten with missiles and even nuclear warheads, America may have no choice but to respond with force.

Please share this article on Facebook if you stand with Trump against Kim Jong Un!

China Has Warnings for Both North Korea and US

by John Johnson

A Chinese newspaper thought to reflect the thinking of leaders in Beijing has issued a warning to both North Korea and the United States about a preemptive strike. An editorial in the Global Times warns the North that if Pyongyang decides to launch an attack threatening US soil, China will not help when the US retaliates, reports Reuters. But the editorial also says that if the US and South Korea strike first and try to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un, “China will prevent them from doing so.” The editorial expresses frustration with the rhetoric and actions of both. Beijing, it says, “needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”

The newspaper is not an “official mouthpiece” of the Chinese government, but it’s at least “semiofficial” and likely reflects the government’s position, notes the Washington Post. China has a long-standing agreement to defend North Korea, but that 1961 pact leaves some wiggle room if Pyongyang is the instigator. The editorial reflects that, with the key line being, “China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.” It’s telling, says an expert on North Korea at China’s Renmin University. “China opposes North Korea testing missiles in the waters around Guam.” President Trump, meanwhile, continued his tough talk in a Friday tweet: “Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely,” he wrote. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Military Special Forces Testing Bulletproof ‘Boba Fett’ Helmet

“… literally bullet proof.”

Britain’s special forces are testing futuristic-looking headgear that has been dubbed the “Boba Fett” helmet due to its resemblence to the one worn by the bounty hunter character in Star Wars movies.

“For years the defense industry has been trying to find a way of protecting the head and this is the next development,” a military source told the Daily Mirror. “The helmet, already being used by special forces, is much more versatile than just stopping bullets.”

The source said the helmet is “fitted with the latest communications technology and will help the soldier see the enemy, no matter what the circumstances.”

The helmet was initially used by U.S. special forces, including the Army Delta Force and the Navy SEALs, and is now being tested by British troops in the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service.

The helmets are offered by Japan-based Devtac.

According to the inventors of Devtac’s Ronin Kevlar Level IIIA Tactical Ballistic Helmet, it is the world’s most advanced helmet and is “literally bulletproof.”

Ballistic protection plates that can deflect shots from an AK47 and more powerful weapons are not the only features that make the helmet useful to military special forces.

The helmet is also designed to withstand fire, explosions and shrapnel, and is air-conditioned for protection from heat and gasses.

Also featured in the helmet is a “friend or foe” mechanism which receives signals from others wearing the helmets.

To assist in locating enemies, the helmet is equipped with an “infra-red” setting which employs heat-seeking technology.

Additionally, a GPS system displays maps on the helmet’s visor, enabling troops to check their positions.

Although the helmet is considered futuristic, bounty hunter Boba Fett debuted the look in 1980 in the film The Empire Strikes Back.

This may have been the one time that conservatives were hoping that President Trump would actually lash out and smack Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) down. Instead, this is the one time that President Trump actually responded in a “politically” correct manner. Which is not a good thing for the GOP or the nation. On Tuesday evening McConnell could be heard whining about the amount of pressure that President Trump was putting on the GOP leadership in their efforts to repeal Obamacare. Here’s what ABC reported about McConnell’s comments: Speaking at a Rotary Club gathering in Kentucky on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vented about how President Donald Trump‘s lack of political experience has led to him setting “excessive expectations” for legislative priorities. McConnell, R-Ky., told the group in Florence that he found it “extremely irritating” that Congress has earned the reputation of not accomplishing anything. “Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point,” said McConnell, a Republican and the state’s senior senator… “Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before. And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell told the group. “So part of the reason I think people feel we’re underperforming is because too many artificial deadlines — unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating — may not have been fully understood.” President Trump’s chief defender on Fox News, Sean Hannity, had a terse response for McConnell’s complaints. Sadly, President Trump didn’t feel the need to attack McConnell for his comments. Instead, the President decided to give McConnell an unnecessary show of support. In a decision that I believe the President will come to regret, Trump finally decided to endorse a candidate in the Alabama Republican Senate primary. There has been an ongoing battle brewing in Alabama between the Establishment (led by McConnell) and conservatives. The Establishment wants Luther Strange to be the next Senator from Alabama, while conservatives would rather Judge Roy Moore (or Rep. Mo Brooks). Moore has a wide lead over Strange who is barely ahead of Brooks in the most recent polls… but all of this math may be about to change. Why? Because President Trump has stepped in and done McConnell and the establishment a favor by endorsing Luther Strange. The Conservative Review is not impressed with this endorsement: Let’s put aside the fact that Luther Strange has been embraced by every lobbyist, special interest cartel, Mitch McConnell, and Karl Rove. This man has already been in office for six months and has quietly gone along with every last morsel of McConnell’s agenda. When Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz were fighting to repeal Obamacare, Strange was never anywhere close to the fight. Indeed, he’s been in the witness protection program on every issue. Which is just the way McConnell likes it. This is a major misstep by President Trump. Luther Strange is an establishment tool, but Judge Moore would be a strong ally of the President in Congress. By endorsing Strange the President is tacitly giving his endorsement of McConnell’s failed leadership and he is helping the D.C. Swamp survive. Please Mr. President, reverse your decision to endorse Strange and call for new blood in the Senate.

by Martin Lioll

The food stamp rolls have reduced by 1.1 million individuals since Donald Trump took office in January, a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture revealed this week.

The number of those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dropped to 41,496,255 in May of 2017, compared to 42,691,363 at the beginning of the year — a 2.79 percent drop

According to Breitbart, that’s the lowest level in food stamp usage since 2010.

Abuse of the food stamp program has been one of the targets of the Trump administration thus far. According to Politico, the president’s budget “asks Congress to slash food stamp spending in fiscal year 2018 by more than a quarter” and to get states to step up their share of spending for the program.

“A small part of those savings would come from tightening work requirements for able-bodied individuals, but the vast majority of the proposed sum would come from making states match 20 percent of the federal SNAP outlay,” Politico reported.

“The documents released by (the Office of Management and Budget) didn’t provide details on where all the cuts would be generated. But a lengthy table included among the newly released budget docs proposes raising $2.3 billion in SNAP retailer fees over the next decade to help defray costs of the program.”

While liberals may rage about these changes, the fact is that the Trump administration is putting Obama to shame. This is one of the most abused programs in the federal pantheon, and food stamp leeches are something that Washington should have done something about long, long ago. Trump’s administration is coming through, and conservatives deserve to be thrilled.

Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree.

What are your thoughts on this story? Scroll down to comment below!

Mitch McConnell Betrays Trump, Trump Responds by Helping McConnell

by Onan Coca

This may have been the one time that conservatives were hoping that President Trump would actually lash out and smack Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) down. Instead, this is the one time that President Trump actually responded in a “politically” correct manner.

Which is not a good thing for the GOP or the nation.

On Tuesday evening McConnell could be heard whining about the amount of pressure that President Trump was putting on the GOP leadership in their efforts to repeal Obamacare.

Here’s what ABC reported about McConnell’s comments:

Speaking at a Rotary Club gathering in Kentucky on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vented about how President Donald Trump‘s lack of political experience has led to him setting “excessive expectations” for legislative priorities.

McConnell, R-Ky., told the group in Florence that he found it “extremely irritating” that Congress has earned the reputation of not accomplishing anything.

“Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point,” said McConnell, a Republican and the state’s senior senator…

“Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before. And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell told the group. “So part of the reason I think people feel we’re underperforming is because too many artificial deadlines — unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating — may not have been fully understood.”

President Trump’s chief defender on Fox News, Sean Hannity, had a terse response for McConnell’s complaints.

 Sadly, President Trump didn’t feel the need to attack McConnell for his comments. Instead, the President decided to give McConnell an unnecessary show of support.

In a decision that I believe the President will come to regret, Trump finally decided to endorse a candidate in the Alabama Republican Senate primary.

There has been an ongoing battle brewing in Alabamabetween the Establishment (led by McConnell) and conservatives. The Establishment wants Luther Strangeto be the next Senator from Alabama, while conservatives would rather Judge Roy Moore (or Rep. Mo Brooks). Moore has a wide lead over Strange who is barely ahead of Brooks in the most recent polls… but all of this math may be about to change.

Why?

Because President Trump has stepped in and done McConnell and the establishment a favor by endorsing Luther Strange.

The Conservative Review is not impressed with this endorsement:

Let’s put aside the fact that Luther Strange has been embraced by every lobbyist, special interest cartel, Mitch McConnell, and Karl Rove. This man has already been in office for six months and has quietly gone along with every last morsel of McConnell’s agenda. When Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz were fighting to repeal Obamacare, Strange was never anywhere close to the fight. Indeed, he’s been in the witness protection program on every issue. Which is just the way McConnell likes it.

This is a major misstep by President Trump. Luther Strange is an establishment tool, but Judge Moore would be a strong ally of the President in Congress. By endorsing Strange the President is tacitly giving his endorsement of McConnell’s failed leadership and he is helping the D.C. Swamp survive.

Please Mr. President, reverse your decision to endorse Strange and call for new blood in the Senate.

US Spy Satellites Just Caught NK Arming Anti-Ship Superweapon

by Benjamin Arie

The rogue country of North Korea is continuing to rattle the saber in the face of Western nations — and the regime was just caught preparing for a possible strike against the U.S. Navy.

American spy satellites have reportedly spotted the North Korean military loading anti-ship cruise missiles onto a patrol boat.

According to Fox News, the naval missiles in question are a “Stormpetrel” type, which is designed to strike other ships at sea. They were reportedly placed on a “Wonsan” guided-missile patrol boat on the east coast of the reclusive country.

U.S. officials stated that Stormpetrel naval missiles have not been placed on a similar craft since 2014. The move could be a signal that North Korea is stepping up its military posturing, and is ignoring diplomatic pressure from the United States and other countries.

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” stated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has been visiting the Philippines over the last several days.

Officials who allegedly had knowledge of the situation told Fox that the installation of North Korea’s anti-ship weapons could mean that Kim Jong Un is planning another missile test in the coming days.

Under Trump, Coal Mining Gets New Life on U.S. Lands

DECKER, Mont. — The Trump administration is wading into one of the oldest and most contentious debates in the West by encouraging more coal mining on lands owned by the federal government. It is part of an aggressive push to both invigorate the struggling American coal industry and more broadly exploit commercial opportunities on public lands.

The intervention has roiled conservationists and many Democrats, exposing deep divisions about how best to manage the 643 million acres of federally owned land — most of which is in the West — an area more than six times the size of California. Not since the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion during the Reagan administration have companies and individuals with economic interests in the lands, mining companies among them, held such a strong upper hand.

Clouds of dust blew across the horizon one recent summer evening as a crane taller than the Statue of Liberty ripped apart walls of a canyon dug deep into the public lands here in the Powder River Basin, the nation’s most productive coal mining region. The mine pushes right up against a reservoir, exposing the kind of conflicts and concerns the new approach has sparked.

“If we don’t have good water, we can’t do anything,” said Art Hayes, a cattle rancher who worries that more mining would foul a supply that generations of ranchers have relied upon.

During the Obama administration, the Interior Department seized on the issue of climate change and temporarily banned new coal leases on public lands as it examined the consequences for the environment. The Obama administration also drew protests from major mining companies by ordering them to pay higher royalties to the government.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

Art Hayes and cattle on his ranch. He worries that more mining will foul a water supply that ranchers have long relied upon.CreditKristina Barker for The New York Times

President Trump, along with roundly questioning climate change, has moved quickly to wipe out those measures with the support of coal companies and other commercial interests. Separately, Mr. Trump’s Interior Department is drawing up plans to reduce wilderness and historic areas that are now protected as national monuments, creating even more opportunities for profit.

Richard Reavey, the head of government relations for Cloud Peak Energy, which operates a strip mine here that sends coal to the Midwest and increasingly to coal-burning power plants in Asia said Mr. Trump’s change of course was meant to correct wrongs of the past.

Document: Obama-Era Fight Over Coal Royalties Turns Into Trump-Era Alliance

The Obama administration, he said, had become intent on killing the coal industry, and had used federal lands as a cudgel to restrict exports. The only avenues of growth currently, given the shutdown of so many coal-burning power plants in the United States, are markets overseas.

“Their goal, in collusion with the environmentalists, was to drive us out of the export business,” Mr. Reavey said.

Even with the moves so far, the prospect of coal companies operating in a big way on federal land — and for any major job growth — is dim, in part because environmentalists have blocked construction of a coal export terminal, and there is limited capacity at the port the companies use in Vancouver.

Competition from other global suppliers offering coal to Asian power plants is also intense.

But at least for now, coal production and exports are rising in the Powder River Basin after a major decline last year.

Western Coal

The majority of United States coal is produced in the West, with a small share of it then exported. About 85 percent of coal extracted from federal lands comes from the Powder River Basin, in Wyoming and Montana. The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.

U.S. COAL EXPORTS

U.S. COAL PRODUCTION, BY REGION

40

million short tons

300

million short tons

Quarterly

Quarterly

250

30

200

Western region

20

150

100

Interior region

10

50

Appalachian region

0

0

’10

’11

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’10

’11

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

Opponents of the Trump administration’s direction have already gone to court. New Mexico and California sued in April to undo the rollback in royalties that coal mines pay, while ranchers like Mr. Hayes and the Cheyenne tribe joined a lawsuit in March challenging the repeal of a year-old moratorium on federal coal leasing.

“If we hand over control of these lands to a narrow range of special interests, we lose an iconic part of the country — and the West’s identity,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Montana-based environmental group Western Values Project, referring to coal mining and oil and gas drilling that the Interior Department is moving to rapidly expand.

Mr. Trump’s point man is Ryan Zinke, a native Montanan who rode a horse to work on his first day as head of the Interior Department. A former member of the Navy SEALs and Republican congressman, Mr. Zinke oversees the national park system, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, which controls 250 million acres nationwide, parts of which are used to produce oil, gas, coal, lumber and hay.

In late June, Mr. Zinke visited Whitefish, Mont., to attend a meeting of Western governors, where he vowed to find a balance between extracting commodities from federal lands and protecting them.

Photo

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, with Bill Cadman of Whiting Petroleum in Whitefish, Mont., in June. “We are all affected by this constant regulatory quagmire,” Mr. Cadman said. CreditTim Goessman for The New York Times

“Our greatest treasures are public lands,” Mr. Zinke said in a speech. “It is not a partisan issue. It is an American issue.”

Afterward, protesters from the Sierra Club and other groups held a rally in the town square against the actions taken by Mr. Zinke during his first months on the job, chanting “Shame!” and “Liar!” and carrying signs opposing his policies.

But Mr. Zinke was not in public view. Just before the rally started, he was inside a nearby building, meeting with Bill Cadman, a vice president of Whiting Petroleum, a company that drills on federal lands.

Until recently a state legislator in Colorado, Mr. Cadman has lobbied the Interior Department to repeal a rule that limits methane emissions from oil and gas sites on federal land. As he left the brief gathering, Mr. Cadman said he was only catching up with Mr. Zinke, whom he has known for decades, on family-related matters. He also acknowledged that Mr. Zinke wielded a lot of power over the energy industry.

“We are all affected by this constant regulatory quagmire,” Mr. Cadman said.

Seeing a Liberal Attack

Cloud Peak Energy had been preparing for several years to seize upon the arrival of an industry-friendly administration in Washington. But it was also prepared to fight without one.

At a gathering of a coal industry trade group in 2015, Mr. Reavey, the company’s chief lobbyist, left no doubts about the company’s determination to defend mining in the Powder River Basin, which includes operations here in Decker.

Mr. Reavey likened the industry’s existential crisis to that of tobacco companies in the 1990s. The coal industry, he told executives, had been targeted by a liberal conspiracy of environmental groups, news organizations and regulators. Coal would suffer the same fate as cigarettes, he warned, unless the industry stood its ground.

Photo

A rally in Whitefish in June. “If we hand over control of these lands to a narrow range of special interests, we lose an iconic part of the country,” the leader of an environmental group said. CreditTim Goessman for The New York Times

He showed a PowerPoint slide that outlined the strategy of the industry’s opponents. They sought to diminish coal’s “social acceptability,” the slide showed, while also cutting “profits through massive increase in regulation” and reduced “demand/market access.” He equated the situation to a scene in the film “Independence Day” in which the American president asks the alien invaders, “What is it you want us to do?” An alien replies, “Die.”

During President Barack Obama’s second term, the coal industry’s chief antagonist was Sally Jewell, a former oil industry engineer appointed Interior secretary in 2013. Ms. Jewell, an avid hiker, had also served as chief executive of the outdoor gear company REI.

She saw mining companies as a particular problem because they too often left behind polluted mine pits and paid too little for coal leases on federal land.

Starting two years ago, Ms. Jewell took a series of steps to change the relationship between coal companies and the federal government. She imposed a moratorium on new federal coal leases while beginning a three-year study of the industry’s environmental consequences. More than 40 percent of all coal mined in the United States comes from federal land, and when burned it generates roughly 10 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, she called for greater transparency in the awarding of coal leases, and she backed an increase in the royalty payments made to operate coal mines on public lands.

“The corruption in the coal sector is just so rampant,” she said in an interview.

A central problem, she said, was the lack of competitive bidding for mining leases: Only 11 of the 107 sales of federal coal leases between 1990 and 2012 received more than one bid, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. A second study, by a nonprofit think tank, estimated that the practice had shortchanged taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

Another hot-button issue was how much to charge in royalties, which generate about $1 billion a year for the federal government.

Under federal rules adopted in 1920, coal companies are required to pay “not less than” 12.5 percent on sales of surface coal mined on federal lands. But for years, studies indicate, the companies paid far less — as little as 2.5 percent of the ultimate sale price — because they often negotiated large royalty discounts with sympathetic federal officials. Companies also often sell coal first to a corporate affiliate at a sharply reduced price, before reselling it to the intended customer, costing the government a chunk of its royalties, according to the Government Accountability Office study. The technique was particularly popular among mines with foreign buyers.

Continue reading the main story

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Mining operations in 2014 in the Powder River Basin, the nation’s most productive coal mining region. CreditBruce Gordon/EcoFlight

To eliminate the loophole, the Interior Department adopted a rule last yearrequiring that the payment be calculated on the first arm’s lengthtransaction, meaning sales to corporate affiliates would not count. Such a change would be a blow to the bottom lines of companies mining in the Powder River Basin, which accounts for about 85 percent of all coal extracted from federal lands, with a growing share headed to Asia.

The coal industry was bent on killing the rule, sending executives to plead its case to the White House and filing a federal lawsuit to block it. “They are liars, and they know it,” Mr. Reavey, the Cloud Peak lobbyist, said of those who suggested the industry was not paying its fair share in royalties.

Mr. Zinke, then a freshman congressman from Montana, stepped up as an important industry ally, trying unsuccessfully to derail the rule on at least four occasions. He raised objections during a budget hearing with Ms. Jewell at the witness table, signed two letters in opposition and sought to introduce language in a House appropriations bill to prohibit the agency from enforcing the rule.

The alliance between Mr. Zinke and the coal industry is well documented in his campaign finance disclosures.

Elected to the House in 2014, Mr. Zinke received $14,000 in campaign donations from the company that owns BNSF Railway, the chief transporter of coal in the Powder River Basin, as well as a total of $26,000 from Cloud Peak, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, three of the nation’s largest coal companies. Several of the donations arrived just as Mr. Zinke pushed in Congress to block the new royalty rule, campaign finance records show.

Finishing the Job

What Representative Zinke started, Secretary Zinke and his team were poised to finish.

In February, even before the Senate confirmed Mr. Zinke to his new post, Mr. Reavey of Cloud Peak was meeting at the Interior Department headquarters in Washington with President Trump’s political appointees. Among them was Kathy Benedetto, who was temporarily overseeing the division in charge of coal leases.

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Alvin Not Afraid, far right, the Crow Nation chairman, with President Trump at the White House in June.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“We made clear that we thought this rule was bad and they had an opportunity to stop this process from going forward,” he said of the change in royalty payments.

Cloud Peak and other mining industry giants also put their objections in writing, asking the department to delay the rule until the industry’s lawsuit was resolved. Within days, they got their wish. The agency, reversing its position during the Obama presidency, froze the rule and told Cloud Peakand other industry lawyers that they had “raised legitimate questions.”

By late March, after Mr. Zinke was sworn in, the rollback continued. Mr. Zinke repealed Ms. Jewell’s moratorium on new coal leases, and canceled further work on the study she had ordered. The first part — 1,378 pages examining 306 active federal coal leaseshad been issued in January.

Document: An Election Reverses Federal Coal Policy

“Costly and unnecessary,” Mr. Zinke said in announcing that the study was, in essence, being thrown in the trash.

The decisions caused an uproar among Democrats in Washington, but the tensions they unleashed were also on display this summer at an extreme sporting event on the Crow Indian reservation, not far from the coal mines here in Decker.

Hundreds of people, including members of both the Crow and neighboring Cheyenne tribes, had gathered for an annual competition known as the Ultimate Warrior. The event consists of a mile run to a river, a mile of canoeing, seven more miles of running and then a nine-mile bareback horse race.

Cloud Peak is a sponsor of the event. In 2013, the Crow had signed an agreement giving the company the right to extract up to 1.4 billion tons of coal on the tribe’s lands. The industry-friendly approach of the Trump administration had leaders feeling optimistic that Cloud Peak would move forward, as the project still needs many permits from the federal government.

The tribe estimates the Cloud Peak operations could generate $10 million in payments for a community where the unemployment rate in June was 19.4 percent, five times the state average. “Coal, for us, is the ticket to prosperity,” said Shawn Backbone, the tribe’s vice secretary, who attended the warrior competition. “We are rich in coal reserves. But we are cash poor.”

But the Cheyenne are not happy. They have historically opposed coal mining and worry Cloud Peak’s expansion would irrevocably damage the environment. They have joined the lawsuit by the nearby rancher, Mr. Hayes, challenging the decision to lift the moratorium on new coal leases.

“We are wealthy in life here,” said Donna Fisher, a Cheyenne who lives along the Tongue River and who attended the warrior competition with her grandson. “We don’t have money. But we have land, water and air. Snuff that out and we are gone.”

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The Tongue River in Montana. “We have land, water and air,” said Donna Fisher, a Cheyenne who lives along the river. “Snuff that out and we are gone.” CreditKristina Barker for The New York Times

Friends in High Places

As he walked on stage at the governor’s gathering in Whitefish, Mr. Zinke exuded confidence. The United States, he argued, can and should expand energy production from its federal lands, with money earned from leases going toward repairs to roads and bridges, and at national parks.

“As Interior secretary, I am looking at both sides of our balance sheet,” Mr. Zinke said. “There is a consequence of not using some of our public land for the creation of wealth and jobs.”

It was a decidedly familiar venue, and Mr. Zinke was relaxed. Whitefish is where he played guard on the high school footballteam and where as a Boy Scout he had built a rope-and-pole footbridge over the river.

“I think I am probably the only person who has played trombone on this stage,” he joked in his opening remarks.

The top sponsors of the event were familiar, too. They included Anadarko Petroleum and BP, oil and gas companies, as well as Barrick Gold and Newmont, mining companies. BNSF, the railroad, was also represented, as were major coal-burning utilities like Southern Company.

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A coal train in Sheridan, Wyo. “I am looking at both sides of our balance sheet,” Mr. Zinke said. CreditKristina Barker for The New York Times

Most of them had a keen interest in the Interior Department and Mr. Zinke’s new stewardship of it. Barrick’s Cortez mine, for example, has a pending application to expand open pit mining in Nevada, while Newmont is seeking approval for the environmental cleanup of a Nevada mine.

Conrad Anker, a mountaineer and author, took the stage after Mr. Zinke. He said in an interview that organizers had instructed him not to mention climate change, or its effect on the glaciers at Glacier National Park. According to a federal study, the glaciers have lost as much as 85 percent of their mass over the past 50 years.

There was no such restraint on the nearby town square, where protesters flashed signs with slogans like “Zinke Sells Soul to Big Oil” and “What Would Teddy Do?” — a reference to Mr. Zinke’s statements that he admired President Theodore Roosevelt, a conservationist who helped set aside millions of acres as public land.

Next to the square, at a pizza restaurant, a once-powerful Washington couple reflected on the frustration of those opposed to the administration’s new direction.

Jennifer Palmieri, a senior adviser in the Obama White House and later a top campaign aide to Hillary Clinton, was eating with her husband, Jim Lyons, an Interior official during Mr. Obama’s second term.

Both had expected senior administration roles had Mrs. Clinton won. Now, Mr. Lyons was in Whitefish trying to salvage the rules on oil, gas and coal that he had helped develop just a few years ago. He was holding sessions with governors hoping to enlist them to pressure Mr. Zinke and others.

“Instead of driving change, we are searching for ways to continue to be an influence,” Mr. Lyons said. “Frustration is an understatement.”