tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN February 25, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
and we can also see at any moment votes rolling in for the next chair of the dnc. the two front runners emerging for the dnc's top post are former labor secretary tom perez and minnesota congressman keith ellison. each representing the two forces that currently divide that party, the progressive movement versus the establishment. cnn washington correspondent ryan noble is at the dnc meeting in atlanta. ryan, what exactly is happening? >> reporter: well, fredericka, right now what's happening is pretty interesting. this is a battle right now over the use of corporate money when it comes to the democratic party. it kind of an example of the larger fight in the democratic party between the bernie sanders and more progressive wing of the party versus the hillary clinton/barack obama more establishment wing of the party. that's what we're going to see play out later here maybe in an hour or two when they go to elect the chair of the party and tom perez, the former labor secretary in the obama
administration was on the short list as hillary clinton's potential vice president. he is considered the front runner, but keith ellison is mounting a serious challenge. now i'm told by at least one democratic committee member who is supporting tom perez that they feel they have the votes to win on that first ballot. if they don't win on the first ballot, it could get interesting. but there's certainly a lot of passion here in atlanta as democrats are ready to get organized and urk nignite in opposition against donald trump. >> as the dnc members agree that whoever that new leader is, they have a big job at hand to try to unite. >> reporter: there's no doubt about that. that's why i think whoever ends up as the next chair is going to make special effort to reach out to those committee members who didn't necessarily vote for them, particularly tom perez. there's a sense there are more establishment members that are actually voting members of the
dnc, but perez understands that the passionate support right now from the party comes from the progressive wing. these are the activists that are maechi mae marching in women's marching and marching in a variety of different fashions and are energized right now and he needs to tap into that if the democratic party is going to become a force. fred, it's important to keep in mind sure, they don't own the white house. they don't own either side of congress. but they aullso have a serious problem at the state level. they have a severe deficiency when it comes to state legislatures. the democrats have a lot of work to do and they've got their eyes on 2020 but there's a lot of work to do between now and then as well. >> meantime president trump's newly appointed national security advicer, lieutenant general hr mcmaster, is rejecting one of the president's main viewpoints when it comes to fighting terror a broad. a source tells cnn that mcmaster told the national security
council that the term radical islamic terrorism is not helpful when working with allies to fight isis and other terror organizations. just friday trump used the term emphatically at the conservative political action conference. >> so let me state this as clearly as i can. we are going to keep radical islamic terrorists the hell out of our country. >> this as the white house is pushing back hard on cnn's exclusive denying any wrongdoing when they asked the fbi to tap down reports between the trump campaign and russian officials. go to chief national security correspondent in washington. >> reporter: m the midst of the white house criticism, the white house did in fact admit that it did communicate with the fbi about an ongoing investigation into communications between
trump advisers and russian officials and that it did ask for the fbi's help in tamping these stories down. tonight the white house vehemently defending asking the fbi to deny reports of communications between campaign associates and russians known intelligence. the administration pushback followed cnn's exclusive reporting the white house request. senior administration officials insisting it only asked for the denial after a top fbi official himself volunteered that "the new york times" story on those communications was inaccurate. white house officials who asked not to be named today outlined their timeline of events. saying the conversation happened on february 15th after a 7:30 a.m. meeting led by white house chief of staff rinse priebus. fbi deputy director asked priebus for five minutes alone after the meeting ends.
this according to senior administration officials and calls a report linking trump campaign adviceers to russian intelligence total bs. priebus the white house asked mccabe can we do anything about it and is there smomething the fbi can do to quote set the record straight. fbi director james comey tells priebus the fbi can't comment. priebus asks if he can sight mccabe and comey as top intelligence officials in pushing back on the story himself. in tv interviews last sunday, which he did. >> i've talked to the top levels of the intelligence community and they've assured me that that new york times story was grossly overstated and inn accuraaccura totally wrong. >> the communications were unusual because of decade old restrikd restrikr restrictions on such contacts concerning pending investigations. >> you don't even want the
appearance of political influence with respect to investigation or prosecution. that's why the protocols are in place. >> president trump on friday ranted against the leaks that have plagued his administration making a case reporters should only use named sources, even as white house officials spoke to reporters asking not to be named. >> i'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources. they shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. let their name be put out there. let their name be put out. a source says that donald trump is a horrible, horrible human being. let him say it to my face. >> president trump also criticized the fish sayibi sayi they're unable to stop the national security leakers that have permeated or government for
a long time. classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on u.s. find now. >> and on the larger question of the existence of communications between advisers to trump during the campaign and russian officials and other russians known to u.s. intelligence, the reince priebus said there's nothing to it. the fact is the fbi is still investigating these communications as are both the senate and house intelligence committees. fred? >> thanks so much, jim. minority leader nancy pe lows see is calling the white house contact with the fbi an outrageous brief with the -- david is an assistant editor at the "washington post." gd good to see you. your paper is also reporting the trump administration reached out to some members of congress to dispute these news reports to try to undermine those reports. what more can you tell us about that? >> this has been stellar reporting going back weeks now by my colleagues greg miller and adam on this issue of exactly
what the timeline is and what the circumstances were with contacts between folks in the trump circle and potentially members of the russian government. want to get ahead of the reporting, fred, but i think this is a situation where if you're talking about members of the trump administration or going back to the trump transition, you know, reaching out first to the fbi -- excuse me trump administration reaching out to the fbi to ask if they would bat down these stories has has been reported by cnn and then later reported by "the washington post," asking other unnamed senior intelligence officials to bat down these stories t ju stories, it just continues the cloud of questions about why the administration is so eaggressiv to bat all these stories down. the fbi has an investigation going. senator burr and senator warner from the intelligence committee
have said they're proceeding with an investigation. if nothing is going on, the question remains why bat these down? why not let it play out. if there isn't anything going on, why not let the investigations sort of reveal that in the natural course of things zbl things. >> all of this has the branch of government has continued to be a big issue in trump's first 100 days. i want to play for a a sound bit. he says attorney general jeff sessions should actually recuse himself from the investigation into russia's meddling in the u.s.'s elections. >> you cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, jeff segs, who was on the campaign and who was an apointee. you're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute and office to take not just to recuse. you kaept jucan't just give it deputy. >> so david, do you see that a special prosecutor would be appointed? >> you know, i'm not sure yet,
fred, but the logic that congressman is use ting there i that clip from last night seems clear. he's simply saying since this is an issue that potentially touches members of the trump team, the trump inner circle that the more transparent, more arms's length to go about investigating would be with the efforts of a special prosecutor rather than someone reporting directly up through attorney general sessions. that doesn't mean he's saying that there's something going on that hasn't been reported yet. just that it would be the better way to proceed and get to the real answers behind the decision. >> particularly before jeff sessions was confirmed as attorney general, he was on the campaign there by underscoring that concern being expressed by so many. >> yeah. an earliy endorser of president trump, one seen by all involved as a close adviser and now the attorney general. >> now let's talk about the
newly appointed national security adviser. lieutenant general h.r. marc master says the term is not helpful among allies when fighting terror a broad. that is a major break with the president. do you see this might influence change of the dialogue for the president of the united states? >> as you pointed out at the top of the hour, fred, in your report, the president just as recently as yesterday at his speech at the convention did use the phrase rad dal islamic terror rather emphatically in his speech. clearly there's not an immediate stop to him pushing that kind of rhetoric out there. >> not immediate, but do you see mcmaster eventually kind of wearing on trump in terms of that language? >> my sense is that president trump does what president trump wants to do. i do think, though, that the fact that mcmaster has reported as having said this to his staff in his first all hands meeting suggests to me that he's poking
a hole, whether intentionally or not, in this narrative that trump has put out there all throughout the campaign as well as a lot of other republicans throughout the 2016 campaign that president obama was hampered. one of the things that republicans have pushed throughout the obama years was this idea that obama was soft on terror even though obama has used phrases like calling isis a vicious death cult in 2015 at the national prayer breakfast is one example that comes to mine. he has talked about terrorism, but he hasn't used that specific phrase. republicans used it against him. now that president obama is no longer in the picture, republicans are sort of spm f responsible for matching the rhetoric with their actions and responsible for the results that ensue if they break from the tradition of both the bush and the obama administration in trying to tamp down this rhetoric even as they fight the wars in the middle east. >> david, we'll see you soon.
thanks so much. respects by the way meeting today for their annual spring gathering of c pack, the conservative political action conference. president trump set the tone this week promises massive new milita milita military spending. we'll talk about all that next. introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. some people who took otezla saw 75% clearer skin after 4 months. and otezla's prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't take otezla if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. otezla may increase the risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. side effects may include diarrhea, nausea,
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regulations. let's bring in cnn contributor. salena, good to see you. you are there at the conference. things getting under way. you're also on the docket to actually speak. what are you planning to say? >> reporter: i'm going to be talking about sort of taking a look at the blue wall that president trump sort of breached when he won the election in states like michigan, pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin, indiana, sort of great lakes rust belt states that no president has won in a general -- a republican has won in a generation. take a look at why that happened, the economic conditions that made it easier for him and the message that he brought. >> the new head of the epa, scott pruitt, will be speaking in just a couple hours. what's the expectation about what he will say if it will be in step with what was heard from donald trump? >> you know, energy has really been at the heart of the
republican message and move ment for the past i would say about eight years. if you remember during sarah palin, and john mcmain, it was sort of drill, baby drill. now it's sort of new jobs, especially for working class people and blue collar workers. there are well-paying jobs and there have been a lot of regulations that have impacted them, not only in the coal industry, but also in the natural gas industry. i suspect that he will talk about that, about the future, about those jobs, and sort of lifting those regulations up to make those jobs more plentiful. >> when he was speaking is seemed a very friendly crowd, quite the contrast when he was last there. there were some cheering. overall how would you describe the reception to donald trump there? >> well, night and day between
2011 and yesterday, right? in fact, last year he canceled at the last -- i think it was at the last moment. everyone was very enthusiastic. verch w everyone was very excited. even if trump was not their initial pick during the primary process, republicans here are very happy. they have the house. they have the senate. they have the presidency. they have the supreme court pick about to happen. they have the majority of governor seats and legislative bodies. so right now they're at that moment and they understand the moment doesn't last long, but they have the majority and they're going to relish it. >> what have people been saying there since we heard from, you know, key strategist steve bannon as well and he seemed to really spell out in detail the blueprint of this administration and that in step with donald trump speaking in much more, you
know, vagaries, what do people say about the contrast in word choice, in vision from those two? >> well, there was a contrast as you said in word choice and in vision. but what people have been really sort of happy about in this -- as the white house has sort of rolled out their team beginning with kellyanne conway and with steve bannon and reince priebus, vice president prince, trump, everyone has a solid, you know, message of, you know, this is our moment, this is our movement, we have to stay strong with this movement, and there's sort of this conciseness that you haven't seen all the time within people within the trump administration. so people here are pretty happy about that. to see this sort of overall united front together. thanks so much. still ahead, rowdy town halls with republican lawmakers have suffered through for two
weeks now. and then many of these town halls continue throughout this weekend. we'll be talking to some of the voters about their biggest concerns. live pictures right now out of hoover, alabama. we'll be right back. america's beverage companies have come together to bring you more ways to help reduce calories from sugar. with more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all, smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before pal we know you care about reducing the sugar in your family's diet, and we're working to support your efforts. more beverage choices. smaller portions. less sugar. balanceus.org.
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. lawmakers are facing the heat at more town halls this weekend. >> obamacare is a -- >> republican lawmakers have endured two weeks of rowdy town halls and they have been facing a lot of angry proo ttestors as well. live pictures from a town hall from hoover alabama. the crowd or we understand many people in the crowd have been holding up red and green signs showing their feelings on some of the more heated issues. this is just one of several town halls being held across the country by both parties today. cnn sarah joining us live with more on this. >> reporter: we're seeing this
morning some angry protestors causing contentious town halls and it's making some lawmakers reconsider holding them at all. peter king said on friday he won't hold town halls if they'll just evolve into, quote, a screaming session. but it's not just republicans who are backing off the traditional more brash meetings with constituents. some democrats particularly those that went for trump in 2016 are in vulnerable positions up for reelection in 2018. they're also shying away from town halls to avoid a possibly contentious situation. senator from missouri, indiana indiana senator. to be fair, all of them are holding events, not just the traditional town halls. they're holding different kinds of events. for example, one held an inn i
havetati -- invitation only eve. one held a facebook live which is a more controlled environment. they're telling me the opportunity for those traditional town hall system simply too risky right now. they see no upside in putting themselves in position where an exchange with an angry protester could end up going viral and they'll end up watching it on cnn. i talked to a political strategist who told me there is another reason some democrats might want to hold off on a town hall right now. take a listen. >> i think they are avoiding stepping on the anti-republican story. because it is the republican town halls that have been very controversial. it's video clips from those town halls that have made it on to the national news night after night. so if a democrat has a town hall and it turns messy, that steps on the story. that makes it a bipartisan
story. probably less interesting or less potent politically. >> you heard that. they don't want to step on the story. another democratic strategist told me there is at least one group out there that's raising money to put up primary candidates against sitting democrats who are in states that went for trump targeting senators who may be more likely to side with the president on certain issues. and as we're seeing across the country, as you're seeing in these live pictures, these town halls are getting a little messy and they're opting for some more. some senators are opting for some more controlled environments. >> sarah, thank you so much. coming up the battle for the dnc chair at any moment now we could know the next leader of the democratic national committee and what it could mean for the future of the party. we'll talk to the vice chair of the committee next.
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a show down is under way for the top post at the democratic national committee. 447 democrats are gathering in atlanta to vote on who will be the next chair of the dnc. that's the number of people who were actually participating in the vote. the party is looking to rebuild just three months after a shellacking from the republican party. bring back the former mayor of minneapolis. good to see you, r.t. is rebuilding the party going to be the primary objective for the new chair? >> well, absolutely. i think what you're seeing is a party that sometimes has been too close. opening up the doors and bringing in a lot of grass roots energy. i'm supporting keith ellison but people are all over the map on this. almost everyone is completely united here. that hasn't always been the
case. bluntly, the past four years under debbie wasserman schultz is a nightmare, but this is a dream come true. >> because particularly the favoritism that she showed for hillary clinton certainly meant that the party as a whole took a big hit in the credibility. but when you say that everyone seemed as though they are on board or there seems to be a real united front there, in what way? >> well, name me a political party where everyone agrees and certainly democrats have disagreed in the past, but the amazing thing is here people who are supporting different candidates in this race are universally seeing not only in public but over a beer or whatever that hey, we're all about moving in one direction. we know the threat that is out there with the current president and we need to hold the republican party accountable for going along with some of the incredibly outrageous things happening right now. >> so r.t., you say you are throwing your support behind
keith ellison and he's receiving a lot of support from, you know, a lot of progressive groups, even bernie sanders has thrown his support behind keith ellison. but at the same time, wasn't there a lot of criticism about wasserman schultz, particularly because she was a member of congress. he is a sitting member of congress. how -- and the criticism was can you do both jobs? can you be an elected official, do your job as a member of congress and also take the lead of the democratic party? >> well, unlike congress wasserman schultz, keith ellison would resign his position. they work in the same big building in washington, but that's the only similarity. i've worked with keith. he's somebody who knows how to mobilize grass roots activists in an incredible way. tom perez is great. we have phenomenal people. i think what we're looking at is not only who's elected but what are we talking about. in this last election we saved
the auto industry and lost the industrial midwest. we got big business out of student loans and didn't mobilize students. we fought for the environment and not enough environmentalists took this as a major vote. our issue isn't about trying to do the right thing tchlt. it's trying to get them all to hear and we we're on their side. the republicans have a values issue and i'd rather figure out how to communicate and organize better than try to explain to the american people why the republican people sold out its value system to someone who's taking this authoritarian view that i think is jeopardizing our liberty. the future is at stake here. people get it t.'s not about who wins this thing. it's about how we move forward. >> in this moving forward. >> people are cheering. >> i'll try to ask my question in between the cheering. in an effort to build on the future, how much of that is predicated on a rebranding of
sorts of the democratic party? >> i don't think it's a rebranding, but i think it's taking a series of messages we've had directly to individuals and tying them together. dr. martin luther king's doctor just spoke and she talked about a hole in the boat. i think that's the sort of thing we're talking a lot about. i campaigned a lot in wisconsin. there are a lot of people tied to the auto industry. there are certainly more in michigan. we didn't do a good enough job of talking about the fact that when the auto industry was collapsing, the republican party fought the saving of the auto industry. there are 20 million people in this country who have health care who may lose it right now, but they've primarily, many of them voted for trump. that's a communications and organizing challenge. we didn't do that well enough. i also think, you know, there's a lot wrong with donald trump, but the key is you vote for people and the democrats have been doing i think the right things, but i think we need to
do a better job of messaging that and organizing that. it's not just language. it's listening and it's campaigning where people don't expect democrats to win. we're in georgia because we're so excited about how well it's actually going in georgia. this could be a swing state some day and it only does that if democrats campaign in all 50 states which i think there's a new kmicommitment to do which wasn't the deal before. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. and we will be right back.
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book now. an unprecedented decision to block cnn and other news outlets from attending an off camera white house briefing on friday. well, it's escalating tension now in the already storming relationship between the trump administration and the press. the decision to hand pick who could attend the press gaggle came shortly after a trump mocked and despair ajed the news media. >> i'm not against the media and the press and i don't mind bad stories if i deserve them. i love good stories. i don't get too many of them. but i am only against the fake news media or press. fake. fake. they have to leave that word. i'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources. they shouldn't be allowed to use
sources unless they use somebody's name. let their name be put out there. >> joining me right now to discuss this is cnn senior media correspondent brian stelter and brian mason. brian, let me begin with you. how concerning is this, a decision like this would be made about a gaggle hand wicking, cherry picking? >> it's one of these inches in the erosion of freedoms for the press at the white house. this is not taking a foot or taking a mile, but inch by inch we're seeing this white house try to change the rules, the norms that govern the relationship between the press corp and the president. this is not something that former republican or democrat presidents did. this is brand new with president trump. in some ways maybe he's
fulfilling a campaign promise. he attacked the media all throughout the campaign. he's continuing those now that he's in office. we saw a lot of news outlets, many of them not affected, all come out and say this is inappropriate, we're not going to stand for this and i think groups like jeff's group is trying to make a statement. >> jeff t does seem like it's full circle. it was inauguration we all had that conversation, you and i and brian, we all had that conversation about how the white house was talking about moving the white house press corp kind of off premises. creating a distance between the white house, the information, and the mainstream press. sn isn't this kind of an evolution of that by hand picking who gets to be a part of the gaggle. >> i'm glad you brought that up because i think it's prpt impor to put this in the context of how this month has gone covering the white house. we have had in the press corp pretty good access to president trump, to sean spicer and other
officials who work with the press. sean has been giving daily briefings this have been televised from the press room as you say which is what we have asked for. yesterday did not go the way we would like. we objected to that. it is not a trend we want to see continue. we have articulated that to sean and the rest of the staff. but i am optimistic or at least hopeful at this point that the trend that has been set more bradley broadly is the one that will continue. >> you say you all have objected, the president of the white house correspondent association, you've objected but you're objecting to the very body of folks who said these are the new rules, you know. new sheriff in town. this is the way it's going to work. so what happens after you've expressed disappointment? what do you expect from them? >> for starters we made the objections clear before it happened. we recommended instead of holding that gaggle in his office that the gaggle be held
in the briefing room. there's press decedence for tha. you can hold a briefing without it being on camera. that's not the decision that they made so we told them again afterwards that would be preferable and better in the future. there is some precedent or occasionally holding gaggles, but what happened yesterday was basically substituting that for the broader news of the day briefing. >> this was premeditated. >> including major organizations like cnn and that's why we objected to it. >> i think we're seeing the us versus them dynamic. we're seeing it in the press die nam -- dynamic. and then having these more favorable outlets, the president's more willing to cooperate w. that's a worrisome dynamic. if they're leaving out cnn which is a big news organization or
"the new york times" but bringing in nann which is a nice channel, but so small it doesn't have neal son ratings, that would seem premeditated. >> just prior to that happening we saw singled out and targeted as being enemy number one? >> partly i say because of that and it says spicer had a list ahead of time who wasn't going to be invited in so it wasn't an accident. it seemed to be intentional. but his rhetoric was very appealing for his base. we heard live on cnn his crowd there chiefing feering for him. i don't think it appeals to the rest of the country to figure out the good, the bad and the ugly of the administration. >> the white house is saying it's more accessible than any of its predecessors. is the white house saying that because they're using the form of tweeting, the president
tweeting out as being accessible? >> i don't think a tweet is an example of access built. you can't ask questions of that. we have had the opportunity to ask the president questions pretty regularly except for the staff. brian is right and we're mindful that we have to stay vigilant, that something like what happened yesterday is not the start of a trend. i again would just reiterate that the general trend of the last month has been fairly positive in terms of access, but i said to sean that one of the reasons people got especially excited about what happened yesterday is because it came in the context of the broader remarks that president trump made about the media. and if people start thinking that, the press office is implementing some sort of shift in policy towards how it deals with the press because of that rhetoric, then people are going to object and with good reason. >> and access is not everything. if you have access, then the president tells them it's not true, then what was the value of
the access? there's an awkward dynamic in play because this president has a pattern of misstatements. spicer is trying his best in a really awkward situation and yesterday it was a troubling day. i think the cnn statement said it really well. we're going to keep reporting regard l regardless. >> that's our job to keep reporting. that's the way we show we uphold the protections by the first amendment regard little of the tone that's being set by the president. >> all right. brian and jeff, thanks so much, gentlemen. appreciate it. we'll be right back. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis isn't it time to let the real you shine through? introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. some people who took otezla saw 75% clearer skin after 4 months. and otezla's prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring.
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an extra tres yal life, all competing for oscars. la la land is the film to watch with 14 nominations. all about eve and titanic for the most nod ns in oscar histor. along with arrival, fences, hacksaw ridge, manchester by the sea. >> maybe hidden figures could eke out in the end, but i think in the end, la la land will prevail. >> up for best actress as is isabella for elle. and return winne erners meryl s and natalie portman as jackie, but stones. >> emma stone has essential ly won every single award you can
win. >> the race for best actor the tight. andrew garfield, ryan gosling and -- in captain fantastic are all up for the honor. but the momentum is with denzel washington for fences and casey affleck in manchester by the sea. >> everyone's going to be on the edge of their seat for that competition. >> who's hosting this year he's touching your face. >> jimmy kimmel is taking on the notoriously challenginging role. he'll emcee the oscars for the first time. >> he's going to get along with the aqui tors in the room to get them to relax. >> all right, the next hour of cnn newsroom begins after short break.
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the two front-runners emerging are former labor secretary, tom perez and minnesota congressman keith ellison. each representing the two forces that currently divide the party. the progressive moment versus the establishment. cnn washington correspondent ryan nobles is at the dnc meeting in atlanta, so ryan, what is happening in i thought shoet vottoing was to begin around 10:45, 11:30 eastern. what's going on? >> we're not quite to voting yet, but they just finished up all the early morning speakers and they're beginning the process of the voting, now, this is going to take a while. all the candidates up if r election day, not just the chairs, will get the opportunity to speak briefly to the crowd, so more than an hour to get through them, before the actual voting begins. but already this morning, we heard a call for unity. i number of different speakers that spoke to this crowd and you're right, there is a battle right now in this democratic party between the progressive wing
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