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Taxpayers Paid Over $75K So Trump Jr. Could Kill a Rare Sheep

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Taxpayers Paid Over $75K So Trump Jr. Could Kill a Rare Sheep
Argali sheep are considered a near-threatened species, in large part due to trophy hunting. Long Zhiyong / Moment / Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr.'s hunting expedition to Mongolia last summer, where he had the distinction of killing a rare breed of sheep, cost taxpayers at least $76,859.36, according to documents unearthed by a watchdog group.


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, originally received Secret Service documents in March that showed that Secret Service protection for the trip cost at least $17,000, a fraction of the more than $75,000 it actually cost taxpayers. However, those numbers looked fishy to CREW, since it did not make any mention of flight costs, nor it did it account for Trump Jr.'s trip to Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, where he had a secretive meeting with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, according to CREW.

"If just one of Don Jr's trophy hunting trips cost more than $75,000, it's staggering to think how high the Trump family's total bill with taxpayers must be," CREW tweeted while sharing a picture of an argali sheep.

As ProPublica originally reported, the trip was pockmarked with corruption. Trump Jr. did not actually have the proper permits to hunt rare argali sheep, the largest species of sheep, noted for their giant horns.

The government of Mongolia issued him a permit retroactively, after Trump Jr. had already killed one and left the region. He also killed a red deer, which also needed a special permit. Also, Trump Jr. was accompanied by a major Republican donor, oil and gas company CEO Kevin Small.

The trip was arranged through a tourism company owned by a politically connected member of the Mongolian president's party, according to CREW, as HuffPost reported. The company helped arrange the special permit after the hunt had already taken place.

As CNN noted, argali are considered a near-threatened species, according to the Red List of Threatened Species, in large part due to trophy hunting.

Trump Jr. is a proud trophy hunter, often using his social media accounts to share images from his hunting and fishing trips to locations across the globe, including hunting elephants. His pride in big game hunts has netted him harsh criticism from animal rights' groups and conservationists.

After Trump Jr. killed an argali sheep last year at night with a laser scope, he instructed his guides not to dismember the animal. Instead, he instructed them to use an aluminum sheet to carry the carcass so as not to damage the fur and horns, as ProPublica reported.

That order to protect the fur and horns raised suspicion from the Center for Biological Diversity, which asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate whether Trump Jr. imported argali parts back into the country — an illegal import, according to Forbes.


The Trump family averages about 1,000 more Secret Service trips per year than the Obama family did, according to the Treasury Department, as HuffPost reported. That's a 12-fold increase over the Obamas' travel. The president, as well as his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, all have kept their investment in their private companies, but travel on taxpayer money.

"Because of the overlap between the Trump Organization, the Trump White House and the Trump campaign, taxpayer money all too often ends up facilitating President Trump's conflicts of interest," CREW said in a statement earlier this year.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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