Attorney general issues video appeal over pipeline protests, memo shows Trump ties

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has issued a video just days before a federal deadline, calling on all parties in the Dakota Access pipeline dispute to avoid violence.

Her video, released Friday evening, doesn't refer to an order for protesters to leave federal land by Monday. Authorities have said they won't physically enforce it.

Nor did she refer to her phone call to Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. He issued a statement urging fewer words and more action. He says she offered neither assistance for law enforcement, nor a timeline for resolution.


Sen. John Hoeven disputed Lynch's claim she's working with the state and its congressional delegation to find a resolution. He says the administration needs to provide more actual law enforcement personnel, not just advisers, and let construction resume.

In her speech, Lynch said she supports law enforcement, the constitutional right to free speech as well as maintaining a “strong and vibrant” relationship with American Indians and Alaskan Natives, but that safety is the first concern for everyone involved. 

On Friday, the Associated Press obtained a copy of a memo that says President-elect Donald Trump supports completion of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline; a policy that a spokesman says is not related to Trump's investments in a partnership building the pipeline.

Spokesman Bryan Lanza says in a memo to supporters Trump's backing for the $3.8 billion pipeline near a North Dakota Indian reservation "has nothing to do with his personal investments" and is based on policy.

Trump's federal disclosure forms show he owned a small amount of stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline builder, and at least $100,000 in Phillips 66, which owns one-quarter of the pipeline.

Spokeswoman Hope Hicks said it is her understanding that Trump recently sold his Energy Transfer stock but provided no details.
 

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