White House Ices Out CNN

The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively freezing out the network from on-air administration voices.

“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” said a White House official, acknowledging that CNN is not such a place, but adding that the ban is not permanent.

A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings.

“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter said.

Administration officials are still answering questions from CNN reporters. But administration officials including White House press secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on the network’s programming in recent weeks.

Spicer, speaking at an event at The George Washington University on Monday, denied that CNN is being frozen out, pointing out that he’s answered CNN’s questions in the regular daily briefings.

But, he added “I’m not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”

The last time an administration official appeared on CNN’s Sunday public affairs show “State of the Union” was Jan. 8 when Conway was interviewed. She also appeared on CNN the following Wednesday with Anderson Cooper, the day of then President-elect Trump’s news conference at which he derided CNN for airing a report that intelligence officials had briefed both Trump and then-President Barack Obama that the Russians might have negative information about Trump. At the news conference, the president-elect refused to take a question from CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, who shouted out to Trump to answer his question since Trump was attacking his news organization.

After his inauguration, Trump has continued blasting CNN as “fake news.”

Since then, Conway, Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus and even Vice President Mike Pence have made the rounds on the major Sunday shows with the notable exception of CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“State of the Union” anchor Jake Tapper said on his show and via Twitter that the White House has declined his invitations to appear.

“We invited the Trump White House to offer us a guest to provide clarity and an explanation of what the president just did, especially given so much confusion, even within its own government by those who are supposed to carry out this order,” Tapper said on Sunday as he introduced a segment about the Executive Order banning visitors from some countries and putting a hold on the United States’ refugee policy. “The Trump White House declined our invitation.”

Tapper had made a similar announcement the previous Sunday.

Last week, New York magazine reported that Trump’s feud with CNN has roots in his relationship with CNN President Jeff Zucker, a former NBC president who brought Trump’s television show “The Apprentice” to the network. Trump, the magazine reported, has told White House staffers that he feels personally betrayed by Zucker and that Zucker should tilt CNN programming more favorably toward him because of their long relationship.

In an interview with New York magazine, Zucker said he’s not worried about getting access to Trump.

“I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over,” Zucker said. “I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever.”

“One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN,” he noted.

Part of the effort to ice out CNN may be related to ratings.

CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter wrote in one of his recent newsletters that an aide in “Trumpworld” told him that his ratings would likely be hurt “because no Trump administration officials had agreed to be interviewed.” Stelter said in that newsletter that his ratings were in fact his highest since last November’s election coverage at 1.3 million viewers.

It’s hard to tell whether “State of the Union” ratings have been affected by the lack of Trump officials, considering it’s less than two weeks since theinauguration. While far behind the broadcast shows and “Fox & Friends” on cable news, the past two weeks of “State of the Union” have seen higher ratings than on Jan. 8, the most recent time a Trump official appeared. They’ve also won the demo (the key age group advertisers use) over the past two weeks, and last Sunday the show had 1.25 million viewers during the 9 a.m. broadcast, and 1.42 million viewers in the noon rebroadcast.

It’s not unusual for an administration to tangle with certain outlets. The Obama administration, at times, had a rocky relationship with Fox News and limited its officials from appearing on its programs. Former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn told The New York Times in 2009 that they were going to treat Fox “the way we would treat an opponent.”

“As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave,” she said at the time.

A former official in the Obama administration acknowledged that they had their “battles with Fox,” and that there may have been some times where “we sent people on other networks and not on Fox.” But as a general rule, the official said, officials would go on the network.

“I think, in my hazy recollection is it would be unusual to do all [the networks] except one. What drives that is sometimes amount of time available to the person doing them,” the official said. “If they are stiffing CNN intentionally, that is different than what normally happens.”

A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A CNN spokeswoman declined to comment.

(h/t Politico)

Update

On Wednesday, the day after this article was published, the White House made Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a Deputy Assistant to the President for national security available for an interview.

White House Press Secretary Attacks Media for Accurately Reporting Inauguration Crowds

“That’s what you guys should be writing and covering,” new White House press secretary Sean Spicer angrily lectured reporters on Saturday during his first remarks from the podium of the press briefing room.

He was referring to the delay in Senate confirmation for President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Congressman Mike Pompeo, but the comment came after a long digression about how many people had shown up to watch Trump be sworn in as president.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said, contradicting all available data.

Aerial photos have indicated that former president Barack Obama’s first inauguration attracted a much larger crowd. Nielsen ratings show that Obama also had a bigger television audience.

Spicer said, without any evidence, that some photos were “intentionally framed” to downplay Trump’s crowd.

He also expressed objections to specific Twitter posts from journalists. And he said, “we’re going to hold the press accountable,” partly by reaching the public through social networking sites.

His statement included several specific misstatements of fact in addition to the overarching one.

“This is the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall,” Spicer said, claiming that this “had the effect of highlighting areas people were not standing whereas in years past the grass eliminated this visual.”

In fact, coverings were used for Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

“This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past,” Spicer said.

In fact, a United States Secret Service spokesperson told CNN, no magnetometers were used on the Mall.

And Spicer said, “We know that 420,000 people used the D.C, Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 for president Obama’s last inaugural.”

Spicer’s number for ridership on Friday was actually low — the correct number, according to Metro itself, was 570,557. But there were actually 782,000 trips taken for Obama’s second inaugural in 2013.

Spicer, at times almost yelling while reading a prepared statement, took no questions. CNNMoney called his cell phone a few minutes later; he did not answer.

Some longtime White House correspondents were stunned by the tirade.

Glenn Thrush of The New York Times wrote on Twitter, “Jaw meet floor.”

“I’ve run out of adjectives,” wrote Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post said Spicer’s assertion about “what you guys should be writing” was “chilling.”

Reactions were overwhelmingly negative, and not just from journalists.

Ari Fleischer, who had the same job as Spicer during the George W. Bush administration, tweeted, “This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching.”

And Brian Fallon, who was in line to become press secretary if Hillary Clinton had won, wrote, “Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.”

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol said “it is embarrassing, as an American, to watch this briefing by Sean Spicer from the podium at the White House. Not the RNC. The White House.”

The White House alerted the press corps to Spicer’s statement more than an hour ahead of time.

The CNN television network made a choice not to broadcast the Spicer statement live. Instead, the statement was monitored and then reported on after the fact.

Former Democratic congressman Steve Israel, who recently joined CNN as a commentator, said, “This isn’t a petty attack on the press. It’s a calculated attempt to delegitimize any questioning of @realDonaldTrump by a free press.”

Spicer’s statement came two hours after Trump spoke at CIA headquarters and described his “running war with the media.” Trump spent several minutes of that speech complaining about news coverage.

In his remarks, Spicer suggested Trump would bypass traditional media outlets he believes are unfairly reporting on his presidency.

“The American people deserve better, and so long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement, he will take his message directly to the American people, where his focus will always be,” Spicer said.

Spicer was joined in the Brady Press Briefing Room by members of his new White House press and communications staff, who are still moving into their offices and learning the way around the West Wing.

He tellingly led off his short statement with his tirade against the media, leaving announcements about phone calls with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, and announcing that Trump would meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, to the end.

During those announcements, Spicer incorrectly referred to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as “prime minister.”

(h/t Boston Globe)

Update

New photos released via a FOIA request absolutely prove Trump’s crowd sizes were drastically smaller that Obama’s inauguration.

Media

Trump Tweets New Years Greetings in Most Childish Way

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted New Year wishes on Saturday morning, and didn’t forget about what he called his “many enemies.”

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do,” Trump wrote, adding his love at the end.

Trump Hosts Surprise Panel with Bill Clinton’s Accusers

Donald Trump, reeling after two days of Republican disavowals and disaffections over a 2005 videotape of him bragging about his ability to get away with sexual assault, attempted to change the subject to his opponent’s husband’s alleged infidelities.

Just 90 minutes before his second debate Sunday night with Hillary Clinton, the GOP nominee held a surprise panel, broadcast live to Facebook, with women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct — in effect, dousing a campaign already on fire with buckets of fresh gasoline and bringing the worst fears of many Republicans to a stunning realization.

Seated beside four women — including Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton — Trump addressed viewers ahead of the debate, making an issue of the sexual history of Bill Clinton, who is not running for president.

“These four very courageous women have asked to be here, and it was our honor to help them,” Trump said of the women who then excused his comments caught on tape and released on Friday.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Broaddrick. “Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s anything worse.”

Broaddrick once signed an affadavit saying Clinton did not in fact rape her, but later recanted.

Standing in the back of the Four Seasons Hotel ballroom were Trump’s closest aides, including Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon and David Bossie, who have made a career — on the fringes of conservative politics — out of attacking the Clintons.

The surprise roundtable and the tawdriness of the subject is unprecedented in presidential politics, especially on the eve of a debate.

Trump, whose campaign has long tested a fragile Republican coalition that now is undeniably in tatters, is responding to a 48-hour period in which he saw dozens of GOP officeholders pull their endorsements after the video recording that showed him bragging to TV host Billy Bush about his ability to get away with “grab[bing women] by the pussy.”

Ever defiant amidst calls that he surrender the nomination and step aside, Trump is instead engaging in a scorched-earth assault that is only likely to further erode his diminished standing with women voters with potentially devastating consequences for the Republican Party, which is now bracing itself for more sweeping losses down the ballot.

Clinton, who has taken a few days off the campaign trail to prepare for the second debate and the very likelihood of such an attack from Trump, has said very little publicly since the lewd videotape came to light on Friday.

Her campaign, however, issued a statement roughly an hour before the debate began characterizing Trump’s publicity stunt as an act of desperation.

“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom,” said Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri. “Hillary Clinton understands the opportunity in this town hall is to talk to voters on stage and in the audience about the issues that matter to them, and this stunt doesn’t change that.

“If Donald Trump doesn’t see that, that’s his loss. As always, she’s prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way.”

(h/t Politico)

Reality

Donald Trump is asking you to ignore the actual recorded words he said 10 years ago, but to pay attention to the allegations of women against the spouse of his political opponent 20-30 years ago.

Media

CBS News

Trump campaign says it is sad “Crooked” Hillary’s campaign resorted to name calling

Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway laced into David Plouffe on Tuesday, days after the former campaign adviser to Barack Obama called the GOP nominee a “psychopath.”

Responding to that comment and Hillary Clinton’s speech tying Trump to white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan last week, Conway had three words on Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends”: “Shame on them.”

“I mean, the name-calling has reached a fever pitch and it just tells ya, they got nothin’. They got no game,” Conway told host Brian Kilmeade, suggesting that if Clinton “were really strong on the issues” and if Plouffe “was that proud of his boss Barack Obama’s Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, then he would go out there and he’d talk about that.”

Rather than calling Trump a “psychopath,” a notion against which “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd pushed back Sunday, Conway remarked that Plouffe would have said that Clinton’s opponent “shouldn’t win, because Obamacare’s going so well, everybody’s so happy, United HealthCare and Aetna didn’t just realize billions of dollars in losses and pull out of 40-some exchanges.”

“They can’t. They don’t have the issue set that favors them” and thus they resort to name-calling, Conway said. “And I have to say, look, politics is not a tea party. It’s rough and tumble. We all get that, Brian. But to go out there and do guilt by association and to accuse people of having malice in their heart towards other people with no evidence, and then to do exactly what the American Psychological Association has asked people not to do, which is to, which is to certify somebody as mentally unfit or a psychopath. It’s just beyond the pale, and nobody calls them on it.”

Conway then thanked Kilmeade for calling out the issue, turning her ire to the media’s recent coverage of Trump after he repeatedly proclaimed that Clinton is a “bigot” for her treatment of African-American and Hispanic voters.

“All week long, it’s that Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton with one word and everybody, you know, their hair is on fire. Donald Trump is called every name in the book plus, before he gets out of bed in the morning. And yet that’s justifiable, that’s acceptable,” Conway remarked sarcastically. “Brian, look at these articles that are everywhere in the last week or two where mainstream media, so-called reporters, quote unquote, are outwardly saying that Donald Trump pushes their limits of objectivity, that they are challenging each other to cover him more aggressively because they believe he should not be president and commander in chief. Guess what, folks? That’s not their job. Their job is to report the news to you and not decide who should and who should not be president and then try to make that conclusion a reality.”

(h/t Politico)

Reality

If you can’t tell by the title of this article, Conway’s assertion is pretty bold coming from a campaign that was built on insulting and name-calling its way to the top. At Republican debates and during various campaign stops, Trump would roll out clever nicknames for his political rivals. Among them; “Lyin’ Ted” (Ted Cruz), “Little Marco” Marco Rubio), “Crooked Hillary” (Hillary Clinton), and “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.”

Here are a few other examples of Trump hurling insults:

JUNE 16, 2015 – Trump officially threw his clown hat into the circus that would soon be the 2016 race with a jaw-dropping, ad-libbed speech in which he insulted Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” derided foreign countries and lambasted President Obama and other American leaders as “losers.”

JULY 18, 2015 – In one of his cruelest, and strangest attacks, Trump, at a conservative summit in Iowa, ripped John McCain, a former prisoner of war. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said dismissively of McCain, who spent more than five years being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and suffered permanent injuries as a result. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

AUG. 6, 2015 – Tenacious moderator Megyn Kelly kicked off the event by reminding Trump that he’d called “women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs, ‘dogs, slobs and disgusting animal.’ Trump interjected, “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” setting off tensions between he, the conservative news network, and the entire GOP establishment that have yet to fully cool.

AUG. 7, 2015 – Trump, clearly affected by Kelly’s aggressive questioning of him during the initial GOP debate, was quick to go on the attack against the respected journalist. In an interview the night after the debate, Trump blasted Kelly for bringing up his years of piggish, anti-women remarks, as she questioned him during the Republican debate. He even suggested disgustingly that her ire was a product of menstrual cycle. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her – wherever,” Trump said

NOV. 24, 2015 – Trump mocked reporter’s physical handicap. “Now the poor guy, you ought to see the guy,” Trump said, mimicking New York Times (and former Daily News) reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that limits the movement of the joints and weakens the muscles around them. “‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember,'” Trump said, gyrating his arms as he mocked Kovaleski’s movements.

AUG 1, 2016 – Trump insults Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, died in the line of duty in 2004, after they criticized him during a speech at the Democratic National Convention. Trump bizarrely claimed his real estate empire was a “sacrifice” and questioned why Ghazala Khan stayed silent on stage while her husband spoke. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably – maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said, suggesting that the Khans’ Muslim faith barred the woman from speaking out.

Trump Taunts Protesters, “He Can’t Get a Date, So He’s Doing This Instead”

Donald Trump may now be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but that doesn’t stop him from reacting to hecklers in the same way he has throughout his campaign.

At a particularly turbulent rally in New Mexico, where demonstrators clashed with police outside the venue, multiple protesters interrupted Trump during his speech.

Trump used his trademark “Get ’em out!” dismissal for at least one and brushed off another by declaring it “So exciting.”

Another man’s forced exit prompted Trump to go on the offensive. “He can’t get a date, so he’s doing this instead,” he said.

The heckler who caught the most of Trump’s attention was a young boy seen shouting at the candidate.

“How old is this kid? Still wearing diapers,” Trump said. “I’m telling you, the kid looks like he’s 10 years old. I’ve never seen it.”

“I said, ‘Get out of here,’ and he ran out. It was great. I wish everybody —” Trump said without finishing the sentence.

The real estate mogul and former reality show star is known for mocking and unceremoniously ejecting hecklers at his events.

(h/t ABC)

Reality

Rather than addressing the content of their grievances, Trump instead chooses to insult the protesters like a schoolyard bully. This is not the temperament of a President of the United States of America.

Trump, on multiple occasions, has defended violence against protesters, encouraged violence against protesters, and promised violence. It stands to reason that it is Trump’s actions and behavior that creates an environment where violence against protesters is acceptable.

Media

Anderson Cooper Tells Trump He’s Acting Like “a 5-Year-Old”

Anderson Cooper tells Trump he's acting like a 5 year old.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper sparred with Donald Trump at a Tuesday town hall over an unflattering image he retweeted of Heidi Cruz last week.

Cooper told Trump he had the argument of a 5-year-old when the Republican presidential candidate tried to defend his reposting the image that compared Ted Cruz’s wife to Melania Trump.

When asked about the tweet, Trump was comically disingenuous:

“I thought it was a nice picture of Heidi. I thought it was fine,” Trump said.

“C’mon,” Cooper responded.

“I thought it was fine. She’s a pretty woman,” Trump fired back.

“You’re running for president of the United States,” Cooper said.

“I didn’t start it. I didn’t start it,” Trump responded.

“Sir, with all due respect, that’s the argument of a 5-year-old,” Cooper said.

“You would say that. But he started it! The problem with our country — that thinking, that’s the problem with the country. He sent out a picture” — Cruz did not, as Cooper noted, it was an anti-Trump group — “it was Romney people, they were very embarrassed he did so poorly four years ago, he choked like a dog.”

Reality

Anderson Cooper is correct.

Media

h/t The Hill

Cruz Blames Trump and His ‘Henchmen’ For Tabloid Story

Ted Cruz National Enquirer mistress article

Ted Cruz is accusing Donald Trump and his “henchmen” of smearing him with a salacious tabloid story, which the Texas senator called “garbage” and “complete and utter lies.”
“Let me be clear, this National Enquirer story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear, and it is a smear from Donald Trump and his henchmen,” Cruz said Friday, adding that he believes Trump “directed these attacks.”

There are no reports to suggest that the tabloid allegations are true or that Trump or any of his advisers are behind the story, which was published this week. The Daily Beast published an article claiming it was Marco Rubio, who for months and months, had anti-Cruz operatives pitched a variety of #CruzSexScandal stories to a host of prominent national publications.

Trump, in a statement released by his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, said he had no involvement with the story.

“I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it,” Trump said. “I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer, and unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz, I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence. Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz. I look forward to spending the week in Wisconsin, winning the Republic
an nomination and ultimately the Presidency in order to Make America Great Again.”

Cruz alleged that Trump’s campaign pushed the allegations in the National Enquirer story through Trump’s former top political adviser, Roger Stone, and suggested that Trump’s friendship with the David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc., made “the venue” for the allegations against him “not surprising.”

Reality

The Republican candidates for the President of the United States of America are engaged in sniping over a supermarket tabloid magazine? Is this really happening? It is? It is? How can this be? This is the Presidency. Is this really happening?

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife after a super PAC unaffiliated with the senator circulated an ad featuring Trump’s wife, Melania, in a state of undress. Trump and National Enquirer CEO David Pecker are friends, according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who says this is not the first time the Trump campaign has planted a negative story about a fellow Republican presidential hopeful in the Enquirer. According to Sherman, Trump was responsible for an October cover story accusing surgeon and former GOP hopeful Ben Carson of medical malpractice. Specifically, the story accused Carson of having left a sponge in a patient’s skull during brain surgery. There is no evidence that such a thing ever happened, and the Trump campaign denies it was responsible for the story.

Links

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/25/politics/ted-cruz-national-enquirer-donald-trump/index.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/25/ted-cruz-affair-rumors-peddled-by-marco-rubio-s-allies.html

http://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/ted-cruz-sex-scandal-mistresses-cheating-claims/

Trump Tweets Image Comparing Wives With Cruz

The scuffle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over their wives escalated briefly late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, after Trump retweeted an image comparing a photo of his wife Melania to Heidi Cruz.

“NO NEED TO ‘SPILL THE BEANS,'” the photo’s macro caption reads, over side-by-side images, one an unflattering screenshot of Heidi Cruz next to a glamour shot of Melania Trump. “THE IMAGES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS.”

The Texas senator responded within the hour, tweeting, “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”

Reality

This isn’t the first time Trump engaged in a dick measuring contest. While being overly sexist, his tasteless and crass humor should be reason alone to disqualify Trump for the presidency.

Please, someone convince me how this behavior can be seen as presidential. People who support Trump and choose to see past the sexist and dirty humor are simply refusing to see the big picture and must have no respect for our democracy.

Links

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/ted-cruz-trump-wives-feud-221187

Trump Tweets Attack On Ted Cruz’s Wife

Ted Cruz with Donald Trump

Trump tweeted the attack tweet at Cruz, in which he references an anti-Trump ad featuring a photo of Trump’s wife Melania during a risqué photo shoot in GQ Magazine. The tweet was quickly deleted, but repurposed so he could add his favorite nickname for his fellow candidate “Lyin’ Ted.”

This was the original tweet:

The final one:

Cruz responded to Trump’s tweet, calling him a coward.

Links

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-cruz-attack-tweet-wife

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