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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 29, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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truth about climate change might put you at risk with the administration in terms of your job. thank you for being here. be sure to follow me. tomorrow is the state of the union. union. don't forget to watch. -- captions by vitac -- happening now, hasty depart you. the number two of the fbi steps down. secret memo. the house intelligence committee meets right now and may vote very shortly to release a secret republican memo alleging surveillance abuses by the fbi. why the justice department said that would be extraordinarily reckless. congressional warnings. president trump tried to fire him once. now lawmakers warning a move to get rid of the special counsel would be the end of the trump
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presidency. would they pass legislation to protect robert mueller? and tracking u.s. trumans. fitness trackers count our steps and our calories and how many hours we sleep. could they also reveal the locations of u.s. troops? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." snmpblt a stepping down immediately. it comes on the eve of the state of the union address. our specialists are standing by with full coverage.
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was andrew mccabe fired? >> it certainly seems he was forced out. fbi direct or chris wray said he was forming a new team and mccabe was not on it. the white house insisting it didn't have anything to do with the exit from the bureau but that's not the full story. the president has taken the extraordinary step of criticizing mccabe on twitter. coming from the white house aimed at high level officials in the russia investigation. >> one day before the state of the union speech, the president is dealing with this. >> the president wasn't part of this decision making process. >> the president has made it clear for more than a month, he wanted mccabe wrong. tweeting about the deputy director's wife who had run for the virginia state senate. how could andrew mccabe be given
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chb 700,000 by the clinton puppets during investigation? and andrew mccabe is racing the clock the retire with full benefits nifl days to go. mccabe is the latest to feel the president's fury. former dre the president's attempt to fire special counsel robert mueller, i know what mr. trump's wishes to get rid of deputy attorney general he rob rosenstein. >> it sounds like there were multiple people at multiple levels who have been fired. >> i would say what i've said a hundred times before and continue to say, i'll sure a hundred times today that the white house has been fully cooperative and will continue to be fully cooperative. >> sarah sanders erers concede white house has put pressure on
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officials. >> it is so that you guys can focus on what americans care about. making sure everybody gets russia fever out of their system once and for all. that you're all reminded, there was no collusion. >> no obstruction of justice. nothing improper sense the president came into office since he's come into office. >> and they're convinced the russia probe has been politicized. the white house side stepping whether the memo should be released. >> to answer your full question. we want full transparency. >> the latest question comes as the president is about to deliver his first state of the union speech. >> what is the state of the union? >> i think it is incredible. you'll hear that tomorrow night. we have an economy booming.
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so isis is on the run. >> talking about providing a path to citizenship for thousands of immigrants. >> for many years, they've been talking immigration. they never got anything done. we'll get something done and we hope it is bipartisan. the republicans don't have the votes to get it done. it has to be bipartisan. >> the white house sources say the president hopes to deliver a unifying speech with a heavy focus patriotism and a healthy u.s. economy. but they said they stepped on the message by all but forcing out andrew mccabe. the russia fever still in place. >> thank you. in the middle of the turmoil, the deputy direct or's sudden departure. the house intelligence committee
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is meeting at this time. let's bring in our correspondents. first to you. what's the latest on this intelligence committee meeting? >> right now they're meeting behind closed doors with republicans and democrats on the house tense committee. the members going in are sort of in the dark. sever of the members including republicans like trey gowdy who are helping with the russia investigation said they didn't know if there would be a vote tonight. if they did vote to release the memo, it would give five days to object to the release. and if they didn't, it would become a that be document. we do expect the there is a vote, would it probably be successful. along party lines, the republicans would vote to give the president the opportunity to decide whether or not to object to the release. the top republican who is running the russia investigation did tell me that he did believe that probably there will be this vote tonight and he said there
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will be discussions happening between justice department and devin nunes. the chairman of the staff who drafted the memo. this after the fbi director came to capitol hill to review the memo after the jarlt itself said it would be reckless to release it without getting a chance to review the document. now there is no word whether or not the review by wray satisfied the concerns for the justice department. separately they're trying to release the memo. they put it together based on their review of the classified intelligence. what schiff will put out today is for the committee to agree to allow the full house to access this memo at a classified setting. that, too, is expected to pass. publics are saying that they will vote to allow it to be reviewed by the full house. we'll see if it becomes public. this is all being discussed
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behind closed doors. >> do we understand there is a meeting between the house republicans and the department of justice? >> that's the inspector general of the department of justice. michael horwitz who is conducting his own investigation into fbi conduct with the 2016 elections. i am told that he will meet behind closed doors with two separate committee who's are investigating their own investigation to fbi actions. the house oversight committee, as well as the house judiciary committee. they plan to meet behind closed doors to get the update on his own investigation. and that is highly anticipated. it could be released in the coming weeks and they want to see if there is any intel to essentially given they will more ammunition for their investigation going forward. >> stand by. evan, the inspector general at the department of justice. we're now hearing he may have
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played a role also in the sudden removal of andrew mccabe. >> i think what he is referring to helps explain what we are seeing today. they are expecting it will come out in march or april. that's the guidance that they have given. i think that there is a certain number of factors that have come into this. but chris wray, the memo that he sent to employees within the last hour, hinted at the fact this ig, the inspector general report was coming out and suggest that had might have played a role to lead. it appears there is a mix of being pushed and nudged out of fbi and mccabe's own realization that perhaps he doesn't have to handle, to sit here and take
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thought abuse anymore. he could leave because he has time leave early. so co-leave and chris wray certainly made it clear that it was time for him to go. >> we're standing by to see if the house intelligence committee releases the very secretive classified memo. the department of justice to the chairman says it would be extraordinarily reckless if they did so. we'll see what happens. we now know they have convened. we'll see what happens during the meeting. >> everything indicates that will come out and that's part of what the fbi will do. they need to get out of the headlines to be able to do their work. >> don't they have to scrub it first to make sure there's no
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classified information? >> under normal circumstances, that's what is supposed to happen. devin nunes has decided it is no longer the case. and they believe he there have been abuses so you have the justice department which works for donald trump in the middle here trying to figure out how they can navigate all of this. >> thank you. we'll get back to you. joining us now, ted lue of california, a member of judiciary and foreign affairs. thank you for joining us. >> what role do you believe president trump's criticism, rather lively over many months, played in his departure? >> i think it had a significant role. the president has been repeatedly attacking those investigating him. not only is it unseemly and wrong. it is demoralizing. andrew mccabe who i interviewed behind closed doors, i believe he is a good man who gave his
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life's work by the fbi and to have the president criticize him is enappropriate. >> you've read the classified memo. the they're voting to determine that it should be made public. does it raise questions about andrew mccabe's behavior? >> i can't discuss the contents of the memo but i can say it is worse than a nothing burger. it is like having nothing mustard. factual inaccuracies, it is misleading. if they're going on release the memo then they have to release the democratic memo. >> and that does what? >> the democratic memo would be a response to this highly partisan four-page memo devin nunes and his staff wrote. >> so you're saying if the democratic memo is being release, they should be released simultaneously. does that too have classified
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information? >> both memos are classified. i urged that none of them be released. if they're going to release one, they have to release the other. or else it is just partisan talking points. >> what about the clinton e-mail probe? that's a sensitive issue. we anticipate some sensitive information. >> i know the republicans are trying on impeach hillary clintonful she is not the focus so i think we need to focus on who is the president. i'm happy to review the inspector general's report when it is released. and i urge that andrew mccabe is called to testify. >> he is about to back private citizen. today was his last day at the fbi. he resigned immediately. so presumably, he would be able to appear, right? >> absolutely.
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and keep in medium you ever a number of fbi officials left or retired. and it that is a reason to have them come up and testify, they can speak their mind and let the american people what they saw. >> house republicans, on your committee, the house judiciary committee, will meet with the enspector general tomorrow. is this simply a republican get together? >> i was not enviinvited. keep in mime this is about hillary clinton. i think it is important to know whether the president conspired with the kremlin. >> christopher wray did read the four-page nunes memo over the weekend. they finally gave the fbi director access to it.
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does that address at the justice department's concerns that it would be extremely reckless to release it without letting the department of justice and the fbi review it? >> i agree the justice department that it would be extremely reckless to release the memo. i think it is important fong there is reporting that the justice department does not want this released. the fbi director has read it. keep in meenind, it is highly inappropriate to release it without the democratic response. >> presumably they would both be released. the president of the united states has authorized to declassify whatever he wants. you know that, right? >> yes. he could. >> if he wants the republican memo released, irrespective of the others, the president could
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overrule it and say release and it then it is released. >> that's correct. the president can declassify. you have seen in the past the president has given up top secret information when talking to foreign nationals. he that power. >> on a separate issue, is the trump administration complying with the law that you passed overwhelmingly last year in the house and the senate. the president reluctantly scene the it. if he vetoed it, it would be vetoed. >> thopefully by midnight, they will start implementing it but there's no reason for the president of the united states to thumb his nose at it. if the president wants to show that he is not conspiring with
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the kremlin, with russia, he needs to do this immediately. >> and we're waiting to see what the white house, congress does. thank you. up next, lawmakers warn that firing robert mueller would be the end of the trump presidency. are they prepared to pass legislation protecting the special counsel? and the popular fitness trackers that reveal a lot about of us. when they're worn by u.s. troops, could they reveal their locations? you may be missing. a key part of your wellness that you may be... overlooking. it's your eyes. that's why there's ocuvite, from bausch + lomb. as you age your eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish those nutrients.
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the number two official, the deputy director andrew mccabe resigned suddenly. that comes as the house intelligence committee is meeting and may soon vote to release a secret memo on alleged abuses. all of this amid deep concern that the president could try to fire special counsel robert mueller. let's to go our congressional correspondent. what's the latest on these congressional moves to try to protect mueller? >> there's real concern on capitol hill that president trump may try on move eventually to fire robert mueller. now you have these calls from both democrats and republicans on capitol hill saying congress need pass legislation to protect him. to put some safeguards on the books. there have been renewed calls in recent days to revive two pieces of legislation that were first proposed over the summer that would call for review if the
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special counsel is fired. among republican leaders there's simply little appetite. even lindsey graham said over the weekend that although he thinks it is needed, he doesn't think it is needed right now. it is something that even republicans are discussing. >> i think mr. mueller is the perfect guy to get to the bottom of all this. give them space to do it. i intend to do that. >> it probably wouldn't hurt to pass one of those bills. >> i don't think there's a need to protect mueller. >> right now there's not an issue. why create one when there the isn't a place for it? >> i would encourage my republican friends, give him a chance to do his job. >> and you heard from one of the members, essentially pouring cold water on the fact this legislation might have any true traction on the hill right now. that said, some democrats will try to force this issue.
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senator schumer, minority leader, their office tells me that he will try to add protections for mueller in the ongoing budget negotiations going on right now. of course, these negotiations in and of themselves are not uncomplicated so we'll see how forceful democrats to try to force the issue. >> all right. thank you. coming up, we're learning the behind the scenes details about today's sudden and surprising departure of andrew mccabe. a top fbi official who has repeatedly been a target of trump's criticism. whoooo.
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call, visit, or go to we're following multiwill stories including today's abrupt departure of andrew mccabe who has been a target of criticism by president trump. the head of the fbi, chris wray were over at the white house. a source says they met with the president's chief of staff. let's bring in our specialists. back in july, why didn't the attorney general sessions replace mccabe. the $700,000 for his wife's
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political run from hillary clinton. the president minced no words. he wanted mccabe out. >> that's right. it was in december that it was reported that mccabe would leave eventually when he was eligible for full retirement benefits. which is still apparently when he is officially off the pay roll, the end of march. the question now is, we've all been looking into all day. why now? why was it announced right now? there are a lot of things in and around this announcement that he was, that he stopped working in his job. first of all, the memo we've all been talking about, that it may be released tonight. the republicans wrote it.
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mccabe is no doubt in that and described in that. also the inspector general has been doing a lengthy view of what went on with regard to the investigation and clinton e-mails. how it came to pass. and no doubt, we'll see if that's part of the reason were this happened. >> and the reports suggesting that the inspector general's report that clearly the fbi direct director wray knows about and mccabe decided it is time to leave. >> our reporting is that wray tipped off in some way that the inspector general's report played some role. think about what a tough spot he's in. he wants to have his own deputy
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direct or. but at the same time the president is constantly tweeting about mccabe. even if there are grounds for mccabe not to be there, at least in director wray's eyes, the constant pressure from president trump. >> it is clear that he the president wanted mccabe out. another tweet on december 23rd, the man in charge along with leaking james comey -- you remember the president said he couldn't remember, he asked mccabe who he voted for. >> yeah. that tweet among many is a classic trump form. t the name calling. sarah sanders came out today and
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said we had nothing to do with this. i'm sure donald trump pick up -- i rule out nothing now. but he very unlikely said get rid of him. it is pretty clear for chris wray where the president lands on mccabe. i'm interested to see, if the memo comes out, if you read trump's tweet, what he has hung his dislike. on andrew mccabe ran for state senate in 2015 and the governor of virginia super pac gave roughly $500,000. there are, andrew mccabe, in trump's mind, unless he knows more, is hung up on that. his distaste for the state of deep state. >> christopher wray apparently was given access to the be devin
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nunes four-page secret memo. they're meeting right now at the house intelligence committee to see if it should be released and make it public. could reading that memo have influenced mccabe that resulted in the decision to say bye-bye? >> i've been told by a source who has good sense of what's going on in the committee, that in fact, it is no accident that this happened today. certainly as chris said, you don't need to read between the lines of donald trump's words to know that he wanted mccabe out. we've also heard that sessions has said to wray, i think it would be a good idea if you had your own senior team. so wray is getting the pledge way. we've been hearing there are things in the memo are not good
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for the mccabe. and "the new york times" has reported that he was pressured to get out. combined with that that he was going to leave in march anyway. ynlt sei why not seize the moment and get out? >> instead of being sent to a lesser job in a humiliating way, the final month or six weeks of his tenure. >> i think it makes sense. think about what a weird position this is for the justice department. it is a trump justice department but they have a larger institution to think of for history. you're releasing classified materials that some members of the committee haven't seen the underlying documents. that's an extraordinary situation putting aside the mccabe scenario here. >> which is why a lot of republican who's are allies of the trump white house are furious at the notion of the
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republicans in the house and the committee wanting to release the without the formal process being followed. you've covered the intelligence world for a long time. there is a process for procedures for very specific reasons. it is, even the senate intelligence chair, the republican intelligence chair, richard burke. he hasn't been allowed to see the memo. so there's got to be, he know, from our reporting, there is a lot of pressure coming from the president's fellow republicans, as much as those who say they want to release it. the republicans are saying, do not do this. at least not yet in this way. >> and take one big step back. one of the factors that is so abnormal in all of this is that
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the president of the united states has not just attacked andrew mccabe, he fired jim comey, the fbi director, he has said that the russian investigation is a hoax and a witch hunt. he has demanded investigations boo the clinton uranium one deal sboorgs the private e-mail. the idea that a president has involved himself in any one of those. >> that the fbi is terrible. >> and in tatters. there's a deep state undermining me within the fbi. and one more, has said that the conclusion of the fbi, cia and other agencies, that russia meddled in the election, to help him and hurt hillary clinton is not accurate. >> everybody stand by. there's more information. we're waiting to speak with
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members of the house intelligence committee that are get go ready to wrap up their meeting. we'll be speaking with them and get a read-out on this important decision whether or not to release this classified four-page memo. running a business is not for the faint of heart. luckily, office depot® officemax® is here to take care of you. ♪ taking care of business with print services done right. on time. guaranteed! expert tech support. and this week all dell pcs are
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you're looking at live pictures from just outside the room where the house intelligence committee has been meeting. they're behind closed doors.
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their reviewing a very sensitive classified document. a four-page memo. we're expecting to hear from adam schiff at any minute. we'll have that live standby. back to our panel. if you look at this, steven boyd at the justice department, the memo written to devin nunes. one line jumps out at me, if you release this memo you might have a damaging impact on our national security and our ability to share and receive sensitive information from friendly, foreign governments. that's why he concludes, it would be extraordinarily reckless for the community to release the memo unless it is thoroughly vetted and some of it redacted. >> they're trying to push back. the fbi director wray went up to the hill. he read the memo. if he thought there was a
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problem with sources and methods, don't you think we would have heard a very big cry very, very quickly? this cannot be released? that did not happen. the other thing that i'm heard from people familiar with the memo, when you look at it, the following is raised. either what the fbi did was, quote, very sloppy trade craft and that's not very good, or they manipulated it to get the judge to extend. neither alternative is good. but it is clear that's what they wanted. >> but he didn't go by himself. do you know if he went by himself to review the four-page document some as he smart guy. an experienced lawyer. the new direct or of the fbi. does he have the tense committee's experience in making a decision that it is not going
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to jeopardize relations with friendly foreign tense services and it won't undermine services and methods, how the u.s. collects sensitive information? >> we don't know yet. he did not have the justice department with him. as you say, there's something to the fact he went to review it because that's the normal process. he had the option to say, hey, wait a minute even if he doesn't get to say let's put a red stop sign on it. what if there's something in the memo that's wrong and in order to push back, they would have to reveal something classified, so their hands are tied, without any context or full understanding of what people saw to reach their conclusions. >> can i say this is why the intelligence communities on both sides of the capitol are the last bastion of bipartisanship for these very reasons, so when you're dealing with very
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sensitive topics of national security, secrets the national security, it can be done on a joint basis. >> we're standing by to see what they say. as soon as the committee wraps up, we'll have that. also the danger posed by a common and popular activity, trackers. it turns out u.s. troops who may wear them may be revealing their locations to potential enemies to see where they are. you do all this research
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looking at live pictures from outside the room where the house intelligence committee is meeting. we are expecting to hear from adam schiff at any moment. we'll have live coverage of that, stand by. we are following important news out of the pentagon. they are scrambling for guides for fitness trackers. they may reveal too much information for a potential enemy of the united states. brian, millions of people wear these trackers. what is the danger for the u.s. military? >> the danger is they send out gps that one company sent out to set up a map that shows the workouts and movements of track users around the world. those include u.s. military personnel working out at bases in combat zones.
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the heat map showing their movements is available to isis and they could use it to plan attacks against u.s. troops. >> they track our steps rk the calories we burn. fitbits and other tracking devices revolutionize how they track their fitness. the concern of american troops use of these devices could be sharing that with enemies. >> if you are using it in the middle of nowhere, you are not supposed to be there. it could tell an enemy where you are operating. >> a heat map has been posted by strava. it allows them to share their running groups and movements. it is linked to gpst. heat map is lighting up the locations of u.s. soldiers wearing devices like fitbits and working out at military bases all over the world, including combat zones,
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making the service members more trackable for enemies. >> look at the level of activity along this strip, this route. as an enemy, i would focus every attack in this area here. >> reporter: in heavily populated areas like new york and los angeles, workout locations don't stand out. at bases in iraq, iran and africa, it stands out like a sore thumb. it doesn't show where they are jogging. they leave their devices on when they do other things. >> it allows us to see a pattern of life to trace how do people live, where do they eat, sleep and move throughout the day and also where do they exercise? >> reporter: using the heat map, they are flagged locations of a cia base in somalia, a missile site in yes, ma'men.
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the strava heat map is not live. it shows activity between 2009 and november of 2017, when the map was updated on the strava match. the heat map shows patterns that are recent enough to give away sensitive information. >> we can see when the soldiers leave their fitbits on and leave their base, we can make patrol patterns, supply lines. they are potential targets. >> we have to point out, no one is blaming fitbit or the makers of the hardware for the tracking devices. the pentagon spokesman says defense secretary, james mattis was made aware of this on the map and the pentagon is reviewing the policies on smartphones. strava, the company that makes the heat map says it excludes activities marked at private and working to better understand privacy settings.
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>> just to be precise, for a u.s. service member, overseas in a combat zone, secret area, all they have to do is mark their activities as private. >> that's right. it's dependent on the individual. strava makes it clear, marking activities is private. movement is only visible to you. the problem is service members, like many of us, haven't set their activities as private. the u.s. military is going to have to require troops in combat zones to do that. >> thank you very, very much. coming up, breaking news after attacks by president trump. the fbi's number two official abruptly steps down. what is behind andrew mccabe's sudden departure. vo: gopi has built her business with her own two hands. each unique piece comes to life in the same way...
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happening now, breaking news. the deputy of the fbi suddenly steps down under pressure and under attack by president trump. we have details on andrew mccabe's exit and the fury over the russia investigation. releasing a memo? the house intelligence committee is expected to decide whether to go public with the secret summery of abuses by the fbi. this hour, i'll ask a member of the panel what's been going on behind closed doors. prosecutor protection. tracking proposed legislation to ensure president trump can't fire special counsel, robert mueller as he tried to last


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