Feds vow legal action after ending Nevada ranch standoff

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," April 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Well, the tense stand-off between a Nevada rancher and the feds is over for now. But the government is vowing to take the fight back to court. Thankfully, the showdown was resolved over the weekend with no violence or injuries. The Bureau of Land Management released around 400 head of cattle it seized from Cliven Bundy for failing to pay grazing fees for more than 20 years. Now, Bundy says the land his ancestors settled on belongs to Nevada.

Here are some of Bundy's family members after the feds backed down.


LILIE SPENCER, SISTER OF CLIVEN BUNDY: Those cattle are ours. They are Cliven Bundy's family cattle. And they stole them from us and they realize it. They're our cows and they get to come home to the place they've lived all their lives.

RYAN BUNDY, SON OF CLIVEN BUNDY: We the people have just had enough of tyranny of government, you know, on all levels, federal, state, county levels, the people are tired of being oppressed by government. And that's what this was really about. That's why they responded to us.


GUILFOYLE: You heard it here, the cows are coming home to graze.
That's the update for the day.

So, who is in the right here, Eric? Was it the right decision? Did they back down because they were afraid of having a kind of violence, militia, eruption, something like that?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I think they are doing right thing. I think you saw a lot of people -- there's a lot of media coverage of it. People started lining up. A bunch of people came and I think the feds did a right thing because there's a lot of questions what's really going on there.

Does the Bundy family have the right to be grazing? I mean, for God's sake, these are cows want to eat a little grass. The feds, the IRS, $4 billion in return to the wrong people last year alone and were playing around with a few, you know, they say a million dollars. I don't know, negotiate down to a number that's reasonable for both. Give the guy's cows back.

And I'm just glad to see everything calmed down and let them take it out in court and fix in it court.

GUILFOYLE: There's a real legal question, Dana, as to the land, right? Whether they have the right, meaning, the Bundy family, to have their 400 heads of cattle graze there, or is there something that the government is in the right? But when you go and you take a U.S. citizen, tax-paying citizen or at least partially in arrears, his property, those are his cattle, then you are having a whole other situation.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: And I thought the Republican Governor Brian Sandoval was probably the best voice of reason of all of this, in trying to tell the government you might have a point, but actually, this is a state issue not a federal issue. So, can you back off and let us deal with it like reasonable people in all of this?

I think the problems that the administration, the White House was about to have is that you had the video of the tasing and the buildup and this escalation, and the story line, whether it's fair or not, but it was developing on the left was that the federal government is sending a sniper to shoot at people to protect its turtle. That is the message that they were about to send, and so I think everybody backing off.

There's bigger questions here about Endangered Species Act Reform writ large, and also how elitists on the coast are condescending towards people who have chosen a way of life in rural America. And I don't think those are going to be solved during the Obama administration, but it will be an issue in 2014.

GUILFOYLE: All right. Greg, how do you see it? Who's in the right here?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Well, I'm happy for the cattle. I'm heard there's going to be a Hannity special. Cattle will be in the audience to answer anybody's questions.

It does go back to these turtles, these turtles.


GUTFED: The bigger implication here it's a symbol of a government that's more inclined to target citizens than their enemies. If we had the endangered tortoises in Benghazi, would the response have been any faster?
Who knows? But I said this before, big government always makes people smaller. So, even though there's some lawlessness involved here, it's always -- the inclination is to be for the individual, even if the individual may have broken some laws.

And I think, Bob -- you know, that's what Bob feels. But the fact is this reveals the flaws of a big government. It's a clump of coercion that does not know how to negotiate with people. There's no reasoning or dialogue. It's just, you're the fly and they're the swatter. So, it's actually kind of refreshing that they decided not to swat.


BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: And they made the right decision because it had the potential to blow-up in everybody's faces and people could have gotten hurt.

But let's get a couple of things straight here. One, it is not his land. Two --

GUILFOYLE: But he's saying it's the land belongs to the state of Nevada, therefore people who live there have a right. That's his argument.
That's his argument.

BECKEL: I know. But you could argue that all you want. That's been in and out of court for years. At some point, you are going to have negotiate what's federal land, what's not. But right now, he was on federal land, one. Two, there's 16,000 other ranchers who graze on federal lands and pay their taxes to graze and he's not. So, he's a lawbreaker as far as I'm concerned.

And this woman saying, oh now, the cattle have a chance to come home, like we're coming home to get them home and time to get off to the slaughter house. I mean, this is not --

GUILFOYLE: But that's not the point, what he does with the cattle.
He's saying that he has rights and if they've been really speaking open --


BECKEL: The next move ought to be -- forget sending in guys with tasers. Send in the IRS auditors and grab hold of what he's got in the bank.

BOLLING: That's fine, but here's when the whole issue change when they started saying, well, it's not about you owe the million dollars in grazing fees, it's really about the desert tortoise, that's the real issue.
And that's when they were starting to push the envelope a little. People got very ticked off especially when we talked about in Friday.

There's a Google-owned solar power plant in the same desert. They moved the tortoises for that. But they're not doing the --

GUTFELD: It's a shill game.

BOLLING: But here's the other thing -- Harry Reid, there's a link to Harry Reid. One of these people that used to work for him in his campaign I believe is somehow tied to the Bureau of Land Management.

PERINO: His name is Neil Kornze and actually --


PERINO: Natural -- guys that work in Natural Resources says that he's actually a really good guy, knows what he's doing, comes from that area, the dry land farming type of thing. That he actually gets high marks from both sides.

BOLLING: Can I just make the point I'm trying to make? Whether or not that's when the feds seemed to back off. When that link to Harry Reid was established, all of a sudden, the feds said, you know what, let's bring this tone down a little bit. I think they want to keep their eyes up Harry Reid on this.

BECKEL: Look, it's been going for 20 years. The last thing they wanted to see was another Ruby Ridge or another Waco.

GUILFOYLE: I agree, yes.

BECKEL: And the best thing to do -- it's been 20 years in and out of court in this guy. Now, I guess, the answer is you get them in the court or when he sends his cattle off to slaughter, grab hold of the cattle and take the profits.

GUTFELD: I don't have a cow, Bob.

OK. But I want to point out -- can I say that, you know -- these are small victories for a large segment of society, but they are minor compared to the larger victories which are elections. The real war is the election. Not stand-offs in Nevada. Standoffs in Nevada will come and they'll go, and things will turn out OK, but the White House who prefer you focus on that, rather than perhaps the bigger question of how do you win 2016? This is just a distraction.

PERINO: Remember last week when we watched the town hall and they had, it was a packed room, standing room-only and they had the speeches there. You don't get a group like that together just because of one person's cows. This is a culmination of a lot of frustration and the condescending tone from a lot of Democrats toward people in rural America.

For example, there's a congressman named Bruce Braley. He's running for Senate in Iowa. And he was caught on tape saying that if Senator Chuck Grassley became the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That was seen as yet another swipe as we're better than you because we're more educated.

I think that the most wise people I've ever known don't live in cities. And they don't sit at a desk, they sit in a saddle. Their office is not top of a horse, not a horse crap that happens in New York.

BECKEL: I agree --

GUILFOYLE: Dana Perino came to play today, ladies and gentlemen.

BECKEL: I don't think people in the cost have any idea of the arguments about land and water in the West, but I come to 16,000 who do ranch and are good people and do pay their taxes.

BOLLING: All right. Can I give -- throw a number at you? Twelve million illegals in this country right now, continuing to come over. They will come and they have a baby. It costs $3,000 to have a baby.

How much do you think 12 million cost this country in health care per year when they go into an emergency room?

BECKEL: I have no idea. How did you get Bundy to that?

GUILFOYLE: He's Eric Bolling.

BOLLING: But we're playing around with, you know, a few hundred thousand dollars. At the end of the day -- sorry -- they are going to end up settling for a couple hundred thousands on this. You know and I know, when you have a dispute with the IRS, they think you owe this, you think that, you come out in the middle somewhere, few hundred thousand dollars.

Meanwhile, tens of billions of dollars we're spending on people who come over here illegally. Where's the priority?

BECKEL: Well, where the priority is --

GUILFOYLE: How do you balance it out? Yes.

BECKEL: We ought to get a bill -- there's the bills have been floating there for a long time and it's got to get resolved.

GUILFOYLE: But there's a number of issues at play, right? Because who owns the land? What are his rights? Did he in some way assert his rights to adverse possession and whatnot of the land by grazing on it openly in front of them and now they took his property? Well, now, they are going to court because they realize that that's a way to avoid a conflict here and potential danger.

BECKEL: What is not in question is it's not his land. It belongs to the federal government. Now, maybe it should not belong to him. I've seen politicians out in the west where this has been a prime issue and they've got a legitimate issue, when 85 percent of the state is owned by the federal government. But it is not his land -- let's make that clear.

GUILFOYLE: But, Bob, he's not even saying it's his land. He's saying that he's been grazing on it for years and years.


GUTFELD: At the root of this problem, we go back to the tortoise.
The tortoise is at fault here. I've had enough of these animals. I don't understand why they are on endangered list.

You throw out an endangered list, it doesn't mean you've had your run.
It's good, sayonara.

PERINO: Or you're slow-walking.

GUTFELD: Yes, you're slow -- how are you still here when you walk so slow? Get with the program.

GUILFOYLE: You seem to be a little heartless where tortoises are concerned?

GUTFELD: They smell funny.


GUTFELD: They smell funny. Have you ever gotten close to a tortoise or a turtle? They have an odd smell. They are cocky, too. They're cocky in their little homes.


PERINO: The bottom line is I think that this reminds to the brilliance of our system where you have a representative government and you have two senators from each state and that's why you have powerful people like Heller in Nevada and Barrasso in Wyoming -- people that are looking out for rural America in the U.S. Senate.

GUTFELD: They should elect the tortoise.

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