Morning Briefing: More Congressional Sexual Harassers, More Damning Intel On the Trump Campaign

— In September of 2016, only weeks before Wikileaks would dump Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails, Donald Trump Jr. received an email containing a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents.

You think that might be something? I think that might be something.

Trump Jr. has said that he had no recollection of the email and said he did not act on it. I’m glad he said that, too, because he has a tendency to say things like that only to see evidence come to light showing very much the opposite. And if Mueller can prove that Trump Jr. did see the email, it not only shows that Trump Jr. lied, it shows that he knew it was a big enough deal to lie about. Also, lying doesn’t seem to work out real well for these people.

Investigators are currently trying to figure out who sent it.

— Elsewhere, the fiancee of George Papadopoulos — of whom Trump insists was a «low-level» staff member, basically a coffee boy — is offering the first public defense of Papadopoulos.

«First of all, I would love George to learn how to make a coffee, because it’s absolutely out of his skills,» she joked. «George is a remarkable young man with incredible experience in the field of energy and oil policies. This experience led him to get into the campaign and to advise the president at only 28 years old.»

Mangiante said Papadopoulos «set up meetings with leaders all over the world» for senior campaign officials. He was «constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign,» she added. That included direct communication with now-former senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, Mangiante said, adding that she had seen correspondence supporting the assertion.

She also said that Papadopoulos always acted with the blessing of the campaign.

And now another defense unravels for the Trump campaign.

— After Trump slurred during his Jerusalem speech and once again sparked concerns that Trump is not well either mentally or physically, Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that he would be receiving a physical in January and that the results would be released then. She also said that it was ridiculous to question Trump’s health based on slurring, apparently forgetting that Donald Trump questioned Hillary Clinton’s health throughout the entire 2016 campaign over much less. You might remember some of the ads and (Russian propagated) Facebook memes questioning her stamina. Trump was the king of making something out of nothing:

Related: In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Joe Scarborough openly questioned Trump’s mental well-being:

White House insiders tell Vanity Fair that Trump is «unraveling» mentally.

One of the president’s regular early-morning reads, the New York Daily News, editorialized last week that «the President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out.»

The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, who, along with The Post’s Robert Costa, has the best working relationship with this White House, described Trump’s recent behavior as «unmoored.» She told CNN, «Something is unleashed with him lately. I don’t know what is causing it. I don’t know how to describe it.» Haberman’s long history covering Trump makes her searing observations all the more troubling.

— Finally, in sexual harassment related news: I think the Franken resignation had the desire effect. No, Donald Trump is not going to resign, nor is Roy Moore going to quit his Senate race, but the GOP is now putting the screws to Blake Farenthold for using $ 84,000 in taxpayer money to pay off a sexual harassment settlement. The House Ethics Committee has established a subcommittee to investigate allegations of misconduct. Given the current climate, it may be difficult for Farenthold to survive this, and even if he does, there’s speculation that the GOP will run someone against him in 2018.

Meanwhile, another Republican representative, Trent Franks — who is one of the most anti-choice Representatives in Congress — has resigned amid rumors of sexual misconduct. It appears that Representative Franks asked two staffers if they would bear his child as a surrogate. Hey! That’s not appropriate workplace behavior!

Funny story: I swear to God the same thing happened to me, which I am just remembering. Back in my senior year of college, I worked as the weekend supervisor at the University library and my boss — who is a lesbian — asked me for my, well, you know. I gave it her, too. I met her with a brown paper bag behind a tree on campus. And then I moved to Boston. I’ve never heard a word since. I could totally have a 20-year-old kid running around somewhere. Weird!

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A Russian Model For Trump, Tupac Pic Hits Auction House & Euro Soccer Bro Sticks Junk In Trophy

Instagram Photo

Warriors-Hornets, anyone? That’s over on ESPN at 9 or you can catch Washington-Kansas on ESPN2. Just another night in December of TV watching. Might be the perfect night to hand over the remote to your wife or girlfriend and let her control the action. Maybe some HGTV or a little Hallmark Channel. Remember, bowl season is upcoming. Don’t get greedy.

Trump’s going to love this Russian model Tanya

A Tupac dicc pick is being sold at auction

Euro soccer bro sticks his junk into trophy, issues apology because it’s 2017

Eagles beat writer enjoys a club twerk show

If you’re a Buccaneers fan, you need to buy this L.A. house for THIS pool

Wait for this NHL fist bump…WAIT FOR IT!

This Florida Woman keeps being attacked by her pet iguana 

Here’s Alex from Florida State

We Need A Good Snow Game Really Bad GIF of the Week That’s From A Couple Years Ago

Burger of the Day


Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Billy Bush Would Like Donald Trump To Know That The “Access Hollywood” Tape Is 100% Real

2014 Operation Smile Gala

One of the more head-scratching things to come out of last months (and that’s saying a lot, since 2017 has most hair follicles hanging on for dear life) was Donald Trump’s claim that the tape of him bragging about grabbing pussies during a 2005 interview with Access Hollywood was fake. Well, Trump’s enthusiastic co-star in the tape, Billy Bush, wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times in which he informed Trump that the voice on the tape is his.

Billy’s op-ed might technically be classified an ap-ed, because it reads like an extended apology. That tape is very real, and Billy is sorry for it! According to Billy, seven other men were present while Trump joked about grabbing women’s crotches with his miniature claw machine hands. Billy says they didn’t think he was being “real,” and that they all assumed they were listening to Trump’s version of a stand-up bit. But that changed when numerous women came forward with accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

Billy re-tells some of those allegations in his piece. He says the women who came forward didn’t receive nearly enough attention. He also believes that Trump’s denial of the Access Hollywood tape has no doubt “reopened wounds” for them.

As for Billy chuckling along with Trump’s gross tales (or if you’re Melania, leading her poor husband down a peer pressure path), he knows how active he was during the interview. He says part of what got him bumped up to co-anchor of Access Hollywood was the “rapport” he established with people like Trump during his years as a correspondent. Billy had been friendly with Trump several times before he interviewed him in 2005, so he was just being friendly again. Billy also says Trump was the biggest star at the time, with The Apprentice, so he was going with the flow. Billy says he was acting in his own self-interests, and it sounds like he kind of regrets that now.

“Was I acting out of self-interest? You bet I was. Was I alone? Far from it. With Mr. Trump’s outsized viewership back in 2005, everybody from Billy Bush on up to the top brass on the 52nd floor had to stroke the ego of the big cash cow along the way to higher earnings.

None of us were guilty of knowingly enabling our future president. But all of us were guilty of sacrificing a bit of ourselves in the name of success.”

And how has Billy Bush been doing? After the Access Hollywood tape was leaked, he was fired by NBC. He’s been out of work for over a year; but don’t cry for Billy Bush – he’s doing great.

“This last year has been an odyssey, the likes of which I hope to never face again: anger, anxiety, betrayal, humiliation, many selfish but, I hope, understandable emotions. But these have given way to light, both spiritual and intellectual. It’s been fortifying.

I know that I don’t need the accouterments of fame to know God and be happy. After everything over the last year, I think I’m a better man and father to my three teenage daughters – far from perfect, but better.”

It sounds like Billy has a real close relationship with God now. That might explain why Billy was recently hit in the head with a golf ball. That was just God’s way of getting Billy’s attention to inform him that he hasn’t done nearly enough to repent for his sins of LOL-ing at Trump’s creep behavior. “Billy, if you don’t get to writing a seriously long apology, I’m going to send down something much heavier than a golf ball next time.

Pic: Wenn.com

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ead to Rights on Obstruction of Justice, President Trump Tries an Insane New Strategy

On Friday, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with Bob Mueller’s investigation. We don’t know exactly what Flynn has against Trump or other senior members of the administration, mostly because ABC News fucked up their report and clouded what we thought we knew. The important thing here, however, is that Flynn lied to the FBI.

Enter Donald Trump:

When he tweeted this — and it was definitely Donald Trump who tweeted it — he almost certainly had no idea that he’d just stepped in it. Here he is admitting that he knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, something that Trump had heretofore not acknowledged having an awareness of when he fired Flynn.

The key here is that, if Trump knew, why did he wait two weeks before firing Michael Flynn? If Trump knew, why did he ask James Comey to lay off of Michael Flynn? (Recall that Comedy testified that Trump asked if he could see «his way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.») If he knew, why did he eventually fire James Comey?

As far as an obstruction of justice charge is concerned, that statement was damning as hell, which is exactly why Trump attempted to cover his ass with this tweet:

Problem is, Trump admitted in a television interview that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation. As far as obstruction goes, Mueller has got him dead to rights, which is exactly why Donald Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, quickly tried to take the fall for the original tweet, saying that he wrote it and it was sloppily worded.

For one, no one believes that. Second, it doesn’t really matter: What Trump tweets — whether he’s tweeting or an aide or lawyer is tweeting — constitutes an official public statement from the White House. So regardless of who wrote the tweet, Trump is on the hook, and he essentially admitted to obstruction of justice (and he didn’t help his case by attacking the FBI on several occasions this weekend).

That’s why this morning, Trump’s attorney decided to take an entirely new approach. From Axios:

The «President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,» Dowd claims.

Oh really?! Then why did the Articles of Impeachment drafted against Richard Nixon begin with an obstruction of justice charge?

I mean, look: Ultimately, charging the President won’t be a decision for Bob Mueller to make. It will be up to the House of Representatives. The House is controlled by the Republicans, for now. The Republicans have, for the most part, stood by their President, and if they wanted to hide behind Dowd’s defense, they could.

But Trump’s approval ratings continue to fall — he hit a new low of 33 percent on Friday, with a 62 percent disapproval rating. Once the tax plan is passed, I actually think it could fall even lower. For Republicans outside of the Deep South, Trump is toxic. If the GOP wanted to toss him out on his ass to save their seats, they might use the obstruction of justice charge to do so.

It’d be unusual: The House was Democratically controlled during Nixon’s second term, and Republican controlled when they impeached Clinton. I think Democrats would be smart to wait until the mid-terms before pushing for impeachment because no matter how unpopular Trump might be, there’s a real danger that trying to impeach Trump too early could blow back on the Democrats and even harm their ability to take back the House. Impeachment charges would likely rally Trump’s base — recall how badly it backfired on the GOP when they tried to drum Clinton out of office.

Point is: There’s a lot of evidence of obstruction here. If the Republican wants to save their asses, they can use it. And if they don’t and the Democrats take back the House, they can charge him with it in 2019.

Update: Trump may be laying the groundwork to pardon Flynn here, which would complicate matters even worse and probably hasten his fall.


Pajiba

The Clear Solution to Twitter’s Trump Problem

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the deference Twitter is showing to Donald Trump by not suspending his account or deleting his tweets when he violates their terms of service with tweets attacking people, or retweeting videos of violent crimes. I agree generally, but I also sympathize with Twitter a little bit here, and with their low-level employees a lot. It’s a pretty complex situation, and one that doesn’t really have a precedent. Twitter is a company that can set their own standards for the use of the platform, but are they allowed to interfere with statements made by government officials? What about running a social media company makes a person qualified to weigh in on the messages of a head of state? What low-level employee reviewing flagged tweets was ever trained or screened for their ability to comprehend the legal issues surrounding deleting a public statement by the American President? Who could possibly be qualified to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for a President to say?

Good news, there is one individual who is eminently qualified and he’s currently between jobs:

President_Barack_Obama.jpg

That’s right, Twitter; the solution to all your problems is obvious. The only person who can judge the words and actions of a current President, with full understanding of the responsibilities of the job and the legal issues surrounding his statements, is a former President, and we’ve got a perfectly good former President right here. He’s even an erstwhile lawyer, so even MORE qualified to analyze whatever legal or constitutional issues may come up! Actually, what would be even better: If we could just get an annotated version of the tweets that had been obviously fact-checked, edited, and had «Edited by President Barack Obama» at the bottom. Now, I don’t think he’ll come cheap, but honestly when it’s the cost of America’s reputation and/or the fate of the world on the line, who’s going to quibble over an appropriate fee?

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That’s what I thought.

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Paul Ryan Stumped By Question Asking Him the Difference Between Roy Moore and Donald Trump

A couple of things on this exchange between Paul Ryan and NPR’s Steve Inskeep:

1) Wow! That’s what Steve Inskeep looks like? You hear a guy’s voice for years and you build an image of the face that belongs to that voice, and when the face doesn’t match the one in your head, it ends up looking like someone is dubbing his voice over someone else’s face.

2) Paul Ryan believes the allegations against Roy Moore are credible and that he should drop out, but when asked what the difference between the Trump and Roy Moore is situation is, Paul Ryan seems to get lost in Steve Inskeep’s eyes. «Well I think, uh, you know, uh, I’m focused on Congress, see?»

I think what Paul Ryan is trying to say is, «Well, uh, let me pass this tax plan, and ask me that question again after Donald Trump has signed it and I have no more use for him.»

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Evening Briefing: Obama Crowd Shames Trump Again and the GOP Tax Bill Hits a Snag

— The Senate has postponed a vote on the GOP tax plan until tomorrow, as they continue to scramble for votes. They apparently do not yet have them, and it likely has something to do with the fact that the Joint Committee on Taxation reported today that — even with expected economic growth — the tax plan would generate an additional $ 1 trillion deficit. Moreover, they have not figured out a way to satisfy deficit hawks like Senator Corker, who wants «triggers» to ensure that taxes are raised if the economic goals are not met. The Senate Parliamentarian ruled that a «trigger» would not be allowed so the GOP is trying to find new ways of generating revenue to satisfy those deficit hawks, which may include raising taxes. No one knows where to raise those taxes, as of yet.

I don’t know what this means, exactly. A new vote has been set for the morning. Again, everyone assumes that the GOP will get there, but everyone assumed that about the Obamacare repeal, as well. I am holding out an inkling of hope.

— Part of the reason the GOP apparently believed that the tax plan would pay for itself is because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited a report saying that it would. That report, it turns out, does not exist. Elizabeth Warren is calling for an investigation.

— Meanwhile, back on the Russian front: The NYTimes is reporting that Donald Trump tried to pressure Republicans to end the investigation into Russia interference with our election. Over the summer, he asked several members, including Richard Burr and Mitch McConnell, to put the kibosh on it ASAP.

Mr. Burr told other senators that Mr. Trump had stressed that it was time to «move on» from the Russia issue, using that language repeatedly, according to people who spoke with Mr. Burr over the summer. One Republican close to Mr. Burr, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Trump had been «very forceful.»

That’s seriously inappropriate and a breach of the separation of powers. And no, I don’t think anyone is going to do anything about it, either. However, it certainly helps Bob Mueller build his obstruction of justice case.

— We reported earlier today that Chief of Staff Kelly has put in action a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Pompeo with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Sarah Sanders did not exactly deny this, and Trump didn’t exactly deliver a ringing endorsement for Tillerson today. CNN has learned that this plan was actually leaked to the press by the White House in order to shame Tillerson out of office. The idea was to shame Tillerson into «punching out.»

Petty, petty, petty. The President doesn’t have the guts to fire his Secretary of State.

The Washington Post is reporting that Trump is not exactly against a government shutdown on December 8th, either, as for some reason he believes a shutdown would help his image.

President Trump has told others that a government shutdown could be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.

— On the Democratic side of the ledger, there is now a very long list of Congress people — both Democrats and Republicans — calling for Representative John Conyers to resign. So far, Conyers — who was hospitalized today for stress-related reasons — has not budged.

— Finally, here is the embarrassing turnout for Donald Trump’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony today compared to an Obama crowd.


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Two More Allegations Against Lauer, Geraldo is On the Hot Seat, and Trump Brags About ‘First Rate P*ssy’

Some people who’ve made anti-Trump comments on social media are getting robocalls warning them to stop. Welcome to the new world order. — (Gizmodo)

Not as though there were any doubt about the Access Hollywood tape that Trump is now claiming is fake, here is another account of Trump bragging about «first-rate p*ssy.» (Daily Beast)

Two more sexual misconduct allegations were reported about Matt Lauer just today, including this heinous account (NYTimes)

The woman said Mr. Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did. She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. At some point, she said, she passed out with her pants pulled halfway down. She woke up on the floor of his office, and Mr. Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse.

According to Geraldo Rivera, Lauer is just being flirty, I guess.

Flirty like drugging and groping Bette Midler?

Fox News is «dealing» with Geraldo (and by «dealing,» they’ve probably asked him to limit comments like that to his Fox News appearances).

Kelly Clarkson’s tiny adorable daughter is a big Wonder Woman fan, so imagine how happy she must have been when Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, sent her signed pictures and dolls! EEEEEEEEEEEEE!! — (Celebitchy)

Bambadjan Bamba is The Good Place actor with the best name, so much so they used it on the show. He’s also an undocumented immigrant, and has come out publicly to speak out in favor of DACA. — (Vulture)

It’s not even December yet, so this will probably piss Jodi off, but I have to share it! DMX has released a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cover. — (Billboard)

Michelle Williams doesn’t mince words about her relief that Kevin Spacey was removed from All the Money in the World. — (Dlisted)

Want a super easy way to contact your Congresscritterspeople about Net Neutrality? My friend Angie shared this on Facebook, I tried it, and ser.ious.ly, it took me about 45 seconds and 3 emails were sent to my two Senators and a Congressman. DO IT! — (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Jennifer Lawrence says she’s purposefully an asshole to fans who approach her in public. As an introvert, I totally and completely get this. Good lord, let the woman eat her cheeseburger in peace! — (LG)

Here’s a lovely defense of the lack of nudity and explicit sex in Call Me by Your Name, as well as a list of the 25 youngest men nominated for Best Actor. — (The Film Experience)

Happy 185th Birthday to Louisa May Alcott! Bonnie reviewed Little Women for CBR6, and found that Alcott’s choices for the sisters’ romantic lives make more sense as an adult (Malin disagrees). The sad part is sad at any age though. Do you remember what made Joey put this book in the freezer? (Cannonball Read 9)

This was posted in the Pajiba Facebook group and I shamelessly STOLE it to post over here because a) I’d never seen it before and b) because it made me laugh inappropriately while I was on the phone with a contractor. Thanks, Astrid!

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What is the ‘Unsolved Mystery’ Surrounding Joe Scarborough that Trump Tweeted About This Morning?

This morning, amid Islamophobic retweets of a far-right nutjob, Donald Trump referred to an «unsolved mystery» surrounding Joe Scarborough:

The conspiracy theories that have been swirling around MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough for the last 15 years are interesting, in part, because they started with lefty conspiracy theorists way back in the day when Scarborough was still a Republican. The right more recently adopted the conspiracy theories when Scarborough became a harsh critic of Donald Trump.

Here’s what happened: In July 2001, two months after Joe Scarborough announced that he was resigning from Congress to spend time with his family, two people looking for work-permit assistance walked into Joe Scarborough’s Florida office and found 28-year-old Lori Klausutis lying behind a desk dead. She had been an intern for Scarborough for two years. Scarborough, at the time, was in Washington D.C.

Police did not find any evidence of foul play. The coroner did not find any evidence of foul play. There was no evidence to suggest that she had committed suicide. There was evidence of a heart problem, and investigators surmised that Klausutis — who was feeling unwell — fell or fainted, hit her head on the desk, and died.

As far as the authorities were concerned, the case was closed. But at the time, a lot of liberal folks — like Michael Moore (who registered the domain JoeScarboroughKilledHisIntern.com) and like The Daily Kos, etc. — made insinuations that Klausutis was murdered to cover up an affair she was having with Scarborough. Again, there is no evidence of this. But you know how we all get with our politically motivated conspiracy theories — it was very Vince Foster, buoyed by the fact that Scarborough mysteriously resigned only five months into his fourth term as a Congressman (but two months before his intern’s death).

But then 9/11 came, and the scandal mostly went away.

But insinuations still crop up from time to time, and that is to what Trump was referring today. The right, which has taken over the conspiracy theory, posits any number of scenarios. Scarborough didn’t help matters with this exchange with Don Imus on his radio show in 2003:

«Don’t be afraid to be funny, because you are funny. I asked you why you aren’t in Congress. You said that you had sex with the intern, and then you had to kill her,» Don Imus said. Scarborough laughed, «Yeah, well, what are you gonna do?»

In 2006, Scarborough had flirted with running for Senate, but apparently decided against it when his opponent Katherine Harris suggested that Scarborough would have to answer questions related to the death of Klausutis.

Conspiracy theories were refueled in 2012 when the medical examiner who examined Klausutis’ body, Dr. Michael Berkland, was arrested for preserving human remains in a storage unit (this is Florida, after all). There was no evidence that any of the remains belonged to Klausutis. However, Berkland had a shady history.

Ultimately, however, there is nothing to the story. But, then again, Trump has also accused Ted Cruz’s father of a role in the murder of JFK, so it’s not like he’s shy about promoting conspiracy theories when it suits him.

Pajiba

Ivana Trump Gleefully Gabbed Again About The Other Mrs. Trump

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Every time Ivana Trump sits down to do an interview I get real excited with the hope that some juicy (and actionable) tidbit about Donald Trump will “innocently” slip from her exuberantly painted lips. But she’s very careful. Since she walked back those early rape allegations a while back, she’s mostly kept her gossip very shady and directed at easy target Melania Trump. Even if she’s chosen not to bring down the current administration (because there’s a chance she could if she wanted to), she still can’t resist subtly dragging Donny and his “new” wife whenever she gets the chance.

Ivana recently appeared on the Irish talk show The Ray D’Arcy Show because well, they asked. Ivana can’t resist an opportunity to sit on a couch and casually remind you who the fuck she is: Ivana is first wife and baby momma. What else vould ju lack to know? Ray knows the right buttons to push to get the kitty to come out to play and asked Ivana to review the time Melania got bent out of shape when she called herself the “First Lady”.

Here’s the clip (via People)

The glee in her voice and the twinkle in her eye as she says Melania “went buh-nah-uhs” should tell you all you need to know about Ivana Trump. She’s the principal of the Czech “If You Can’t Say Something Nice” academy where she teaches a master class in “Cutting Lesser Bitches Down, But Make It Fashion”.

Ray also asked Ivana is Donald was the diaper changing type of dad. You won’t be surprised to learn that he was not.

Here’s that exchange:

Do you think that when she says Donald was “making the business” she meant taking a shit? That would explain a lot, actually. Sadly, Ivana really seems to think this is a cute anecdote about a Very Important Business Man and not a tale of neglect and indifference. You’ll note she makes sure you know just how many buttons the children had to push in their house elevator to get to daddy’s office. That’s because they were very, very wealthy. Very wealthy indeed. And don’t you ever forget that, dahlink.

Pic: Wenn.com

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