tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 26, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PST
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as president biden begins his first full week in office, the house delivers the article of impeachment against his predecessor. tonight biden telling cnn the impeachment has to happen even though it may get in the way of his agenda. he is predicting that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by spring. biden also wants to get his $1.9 trillion covid relief package through congress, but it's getting pushed back on capitol hill. let's discuss now. joining me is white house correspondent john harwood, senior political analyst john avlon, and presidential historian timothy naftali. what do i owe this -- i did something right. i got the "a" team. john harwood, you first. cnn just spoke to president biden about trump's impeachment.
what is he saying tonight? >> he's saying some simple statements of fact. he's saying that donald trump's trial may pose some interference with his agenda, that donald trump is likely to be acquitted by the senate, but that the trial has to happen. and that's simply the reality. this was an enormous crime against the people of the united states. it was an act of domestic terrorism. it's inconvenient to have to deal with it just like it's inconvenient to have to deal with an act of foreign terrorism or a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. but you can't avoid doing it. republicans, of course, would like to have this go away. they want to hide behind procedure. they do not want to cast this vote on acquittal or conviction of the president, but they're going to have to, and there's simply no way around it. >> so, tim, tonight we saw the house deliver the impeachment article to the senate, triggering the fourth
impeachment trial in u.s. hior former president. but put that into perspective for us. i mean this is unprecedented. number one, i felt like, wait, didn't i just see this? it's like deja vu all over again. that's kind of redundant. put this into perspective for us. >> well, this is not only the tail end of the second impeachment of an american president, which is a first, but it's also going to be the first trial of a former president, which raises constitutional issues. and, in fact, people are going to be studying the case of william belk nap. the secretary of war resigned before being impeached in 1876 but was not only impeached but tried. they'll be looking to that case for, i think, insight into what is going to unfold. let me put this in a different
way. the stakes are much higher for this trial than the first of donald trump's senate trials. and the reason the stakes are so high is that the future deradicalization of the gop, which i believe is one of the national security interests of our country, will rest, i believe, on the outcome of this trial. so an acquittal could have deleterious, painful, damaging effects to the ability of republicans to clean up their act. >> john, listen, you know -- john avlon, john harwood reported what the currentmen hg trump will be convicted. at this point, will anything change minds? >> i think the pressure to vote and as more evidence comes in. only in the last week, the information keeps coming in and keeps getting worse. we see the president taking active measures inside his own
administration to try to pressure the department of justice to try to overturn the election. the information as it comes out is going to get worse, not better. the fact pattern is bad and it's going to be uglilier and republicans are going to need to confront it and then be on record whether they think inciting an insurrection and trying to overturn an election is okay, and i don't think a process argument is going to cut it. this is as serious as it gets in terms of crimes against country and insult to our democracy. so i think the deradicalization of the republican party, as tim naftali said, is at stake. but also republicans trying to wriggle out of this because they're still afraid of the base. and that itself speaks to the sickness in our politics. >> democrats decided not to show up for work this week yet found time to impeach a private citizen. this is becoming the new gop talking point, but it makes absolutely no sense. he was president when he was impeached. he was president when he incited
a riot, an insurrection on capitol hill. >> don, i would not underestimate the power of that argument. the long forgotten william belknap was guilty as sin. the secretary of war took kickbacks. i guy who gave him a kickback testified under oath he had done it. there were receipts, and william belknap was acquitted because of this issue of going after a private citizen. i believe this is a -- by the way, the senate can decide. it's not a set constitutional issue. the arguments are powerful on both sides, but it's an out. it's a political out for republicans. i believe the democrats have to work very closely with republicans to lay out the evidence about what happened on january 6th. i believe a quick trial will lead to an acquittal. i believe this trial mustn't be
quick. i believe the ability offederal by president biden. fbi records, pentagon records, they can all be turned over to the senate for this trial. i believe that public opinion will be the key to turning enough republicans to get to 67. if they try to do this fast, the democrats will end up with an acquittal. >> john, the house impeachment managers have the next two weeks to prepare, but we're told that trump is still building his defense team and not having an easy time of it. what are you hearing about this? >> well, we've heard that he has engaged a south carolina lawyer named butch bowers to be part of his defense team. but in reality, the republican senate caucus is his defense team. in his impeachment a year ago, the head of his defense team was mitch mcconnell, and even though republicans acknowledged -- ted cruz told the president's
lawyers 100 senators believed there was a quid pro quo between the president's demand for investigation of joe biden from ukraine and the withholding of military aid, but they turned it into a deal where it's not serious enough to impeach. in that case, the people who were afraid to stand up to trump outnumbered the people who were willing to stand up to trump by 52-1. now i think there will be more than just that one, mitt romney in this case. but it's very clear that republican senators by and large are afraid of the trump base, afraid of trump coming after them in some way, don't want to antagonize their own supporters, and they're going to look for a way either to say, well, it's an unconstitutional trial. the trial is stupid as marco rubio said the other day. it shouldn't be happening. they're just pouring gasoline o they're going to say all that stuff, but they're going to have to vote in the end and history demands that they vote.
>> that's all we have time. thank you all. i appreciate it. i'll see you soon. now i want to bring in former u.s. attorney preet bharara. thank you so much for joining us. an interesting day. we've seen this all play out before. second time the house delivering the impeachment article tonight, officially putting the senate trial against trump into motion. the charge is incitement of insurrection. do you think they can prove the case? >> well, you know, proving a case is in the eyes of the jurors. i think that there is sufficient evidence. i think there's overwhelming evidence. i think the house managers will argue that. eyes, which is why i don't think you need a lot of witnesses. but you need a two-thirds majority in the senate, and you have a lot of republican senators who will make a procedural argument that you can't proceed with impeachment because the president is out of office, and some of them will also make a substantive argument although i think they will want to rest their case on the procedural argument because it's hard to defend what the
president did. so whether they'll be able to prove their case or not depends on what the vote is. >> is that a valid argument that you can't impeach a president who's out of office? >> i don't believe so. i know there's some scholars who think that, and there's a former, you know, well respected conservative circuit court judge who wrote an op-ed to that effect that republicans are relying on. but as many, many people have observed, it would cause some language in the constitution to be a nullity if that were so. so there's language in the constitution about the possibility of disqualifying someone from office. >> mm-hmm. >> and the only way you can have the vote on disqualifying someone from future office is after a conviction. of course after a conviction in the senate, you get removed. so there would be no language to have that language in the constitution. and there's also historical precedent on at least two occasions of having a disqualification vote and proceeding against someone who is no longer in office. i think the better argument is you can proceed against a president who has left office. >> let's show some of the
evidence because i think it's important for people to remember what happened, to see it for themselves. so i want to play this clip now, preet. it's from "just security." it's showing the crowd's reaction to trump's remarks on january 6th. it features videos posted on parler and made public by propublica. here it is. >> now it is up to congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. and after this, we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you. we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down any one you want, but i think right here we're going to walk down to the capitol. [ crowd cheering ]
>> take the capitol! >> take the capitol! >> take the capitol right now! >> yes! >> peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. we fight. we fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. we fight. we fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. my fellow americans. >> now, cnn hasn't independently verified this video, preet.
but "the washington post" is reporting that it's of particular interest to impeachment managers and it's similar to other video from our reporting, videos like this. >> we were invited here. we were invited by the president of the united states! >> so, preet, are these videos evidence against the president, and do they support the case -- and, listen, watching them, how soon we forget, but go on, please. >> yeah, no, there's certainly evidence. i mean you have to show a few things in order to prove the incitement case against the president of the united states. one, of course, is what was in his mind, what his intention was. was he trying to incite them? the other is related to that, how foreseeable was it that his words were going to incite folks? and on the more occasions that you have person after person after person reacting in real time to the president's words, i don't know if any of them were close enough to be in earshot of
the president. that's evidence that a normal person would understand the president's words to be inciting. then you have other evidence to be conjoined with this, leading up to the day of january 6th, where you probably got communications back and forth between the president's allies and ands other. some of the president's allies were responsible for setting up the january 6th event. depending on those communications and how riled up people got, that's more evidence. there's also the bit about donald trump saying that he was going to go with them to the capitol. >> mm-hmm. >> so sort of being in cahoots with them as a physical matter, which turned out to be a lie. so, yeah, it's powerful evidence. it's emotional evidence. it's a political trial. it doesn't fool thllow the rule evidence. what you just showed i think will have a great effect on the hearts and minds of people who are making the decision. >> listen, i'm not an attorney here. but if someone says i'm going to go with you, and you're the president of the united states, that seems to offer some degree
of protection for whatever actions that might be taken. and also doesn't the president, preet, have a unique position, a unique platform where if he says things like that and then something like what happened at the capitol does happen, and then he doesn't immediately, when it is happening, call for it to stop, doesn't that pose some sort of evidence that maybe he was complicit because he doesn't want -- he didn't immediately tell them to stop? >> i think that's absolutely correct. i think it shows his state of mind. no offense to you and me, but president trump, when he was in office, was not don lemon, not preet bharara, even though we have some platform. he's the most powerful person in the country. person after person said they went to the capitol that day on january 6th because they were invited to do so by the president of the united states. not only did he not go with them. not only did he incite them to go on their own to the capitol, and not only did he not say anything to bring down the temperature of the crowd, all
the reporting suggests he was happy, he was joyful that these people were fighting for him. so the combination of facts with words and actions on the part of not just the folks who went into the capitol but the president himself and his allies i think paints a very damning portrait. he's got a lot of responsibility. he never likes to take responsibility. he never did take responsibility for anything, whether it's covid or this. but i think you're exactly correct. he shares a huge amount of authority because of his position and who he is and how much influence he has over his base. >> yeah, he could have said immediately when it happened, this is not what i wanted. please stop. like right away he could have said it. preet, thank you very much. >> sure. so will the gop still be the party of trump even after he incited a riot at the capitol? listen to just how divisive this country is right now. dr. fauci's personal story. >> somebody sending me an envelope with powder that explodes in my face to scare me
and my family -- boy, that tells you the depth of the divisiveness. and then january 6th, to me, was like, oh, my goodness, here it is in its ultimate. it's purely a reflection of divisiveness that is so deep that it's disturbing. finish quantum with activeblu technology, cleans without pre-rinsing. switch to finish and skip the rinse to save water.
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going forward? brendan buck is a former top aide to house speakers paul ryan and john boehner. and cnn political commentator ana navarro is here. thank you so much. good to see you. brendan, you first. the gop, you guys lost the senate, lost the white house. and yet a lot of republicans are sticking with trumpism even after the pro-trump mob stormed the capitol. how does that make any sense? >> well, it makes sense because each one of these members is only concerned about their primary. the republican primary. and there is such a market for what donald trump is selling that it's really the only box you have to check. look, usually after an election that you lose, like we did, the white house and the senate after losing the house, there's some period of self-reflection, some grappling with what happened, and that is just not happening because there literally is no other side of the party right
now. you've got mitt romney. you've got maybe a ben sasse, but nobody's even really arguing the other side of the case that, you know, what donald trump stands for is bad or wrong or an electoral disaster. no one is even willing to say that because it is in their own political self-interest to keep doing what donald trump has shown them works with republican base voters because, again, they only care about their primary. >> what does that say about everyone involved? i mean, ana, the arizona gop voted to -- i had, you know, jeff flake on just a little bit ago. but they voted to publicly punish arizona governor doug ducey, former senator jeff flake, cindy mccain, and then you tweeted this. you said, the republican party's big tent has no room for folks like cindy mccain, doug ducey, jeff flake, representative liz cheney, but has plenty of space for qanon conspiracy theorists,
white supremacists and members of congress who lie to the american people and help incite insurrection. so the crazy fringe has a home, but not the bushes or the romneys? what is this? >> think about that. the bushes, the romneys, the mccains, the cheneys. all of those people b-- the pences, the pences. one of the things i don't understand is this absolute fealty that some of these members of congress have towards donald trump when donald trump has shown to be a human being incapable of loyalty. michael pence basically gave him a wet french kiss for four years. the one moment he wasn't willing to cross a bridge that was completely illegal and unconstitutional, donald trump sent people out to kill him literally, not figuratively, literally. so, look, it's crazy. this is no longer about
republican values. it's no longer about republican principles. it's no longer about ideology or big ideas. there is one test and one test only. fealty to donald trump. and the reason donald trump has power is because these congress people give it to him. that's why he has power, because they are afraid of him. because they allow themselves to be bullied by him. and once you allow yourself to be bullied once, it will never, ever, ever end. so he knows he's got them. he's got them by the neck. >> ana, let me ask you this because you're talking about leaders and elected officials for the most part, right, or people who had been. but what does this say about the party? it takes a lot more than just those people to have a republican party. if brendan is saying that's what -- i think he's saying sort of give the people what they want.
they think that's what they're doing. what does that say about the people in the party because there are more people who make up the party than elected officials. >> look, not everybody thinks the same way. obviously we've just gone through names of people who dare have their own conscience and vote that conscience. but listen, don. really, you cannot underestimate the power of leadership's words, of what a leader says. you know your local congressperson. you trust your local mayor or your governor. and if that person is saying over and over again and is playing the choir and repeating that there's been election fraud when they know there hasn't been, that there is, you know -- all of the stuff that they repeated and they're watching fox news six hours a day and they're listening to rush limbaugh two hours every day, yeah, you better believe that it gets programmed, that it gets
built into that level of group think. not everybody. not everybody. but there is a large number of republicans right now who believe absolutely everything that comes out of state propaganda and led by donald trump and his choir, you know. >> so, brendan, the former u.s. ambassador nikki haley was on fox news tonight. here's what she is saying about the impeachment trial and former president trump. >> i don't even think there's a basis for impeachment. i mean the idea that they're even bringing this up, they didn't even have a hearing in the house. now they're going to turn around and bring about impeachment, yet they say they're for unity. i mean they beat him up before he got into office. they're beating him up after he leaves office. i mean at some point, i mean give the man a break. i mean move on. if you tryuly about moving on, move on. the idea that they've going to do impeachment, that's not going to bring our country together.
that's only dividing our country. >> brendan, give the man a break? really? >> but she's giving those viewers what they want. she's telling them what they want to hear, and that is i think, look, as you discussed, look, it is voters in the biggest way that is why we're facing this. look at jeff flake. he was a huge trump critic, and he realized he was not going to be able to get re-elected. it's because everyone is just telling them what they want to hear. look, we can't expect a huge, clean break. but what maybe we can hope for is a few republicans who are willing to just tell people what they honestly think. that's why i think the situation with liz cheney is both inspiring, what she's doing, but zoo depressing that she is no facing so much pressure to step down from her spot. liz cheney has shown that, look, you can say what you actually think. you can do the right thing.
but now we've got people saying that the only person who should be punished from what happened on january 6th is liz cheney and not the president. we need a party that is willing to finally just tell people, you know, what they honestly think. do the right thing. it seems to basic, but all of the incentive structures are for people to just tell people what they want to hear. that's what happens every day. that's what nikki haley is doing because she wants to be president. >> thank you both. president biden out with an ambitious new pledge on coronavirus vaccinations, hoping for 1.5 million per day. is it doable? that's next. minerals, and herbs. it's what makes airborne your daily dose of confidence.
program, getting up to 1.5 million americans vaccinated every day. >> i'm quite confident that we will be in a position within the next three weeks or so to be vaccinating people at the range of 1 million a day or in excess of that. i think with the grace of god and the good will of the neighbor and the crick not rising as the old saying goes, i think we may be able to get that to 1.5 million a day rather than 1 million a day. >> okay. so dr. clayton marsh is here, the covid czar for west virginia, a state with one of the most successful vaccination programs. more than 9% of west virginians have received at least one dose. so we want to know how to do it better. that's why we called on dr. marsh. thank you so much for joining, doctor. so your state is a leader in delivering these vaccines. you've administered 83% of the doses you have. many states are struggling to
give out even half their supply. what are you doing in west virginia? >> well, don, there's really four things that i believe that we're doing that's helping us distribute vaccines. number one is we have a clear priority plan. we know that we want to save lives, reduce hospitalizations, make sure that we maintain the capacity and function of both health care and our communities. number two is we've created a team of teams. we have an interagency task force that is led by our national guard operations folks, and everybody that sits around the task force, whether you're in the dhhr, you're in the hospital assu wear a west virginia hat. number three is we have an agile team, so we know that with this black swan event that is covid-19, that we can't predict
the future. so whe want to make sure we're able to pivot and be very agile. number four is we understood the state of west virginia, so we decided to take control of our state where we knew we had half of our pharmacies being locally owned. so we did not activate the federal program and went instead with a program that really paired our local pharmacies with the vaccination places to be able to vaccinate quickly. >> and you think that could be replicated on a nationwide basis? >> oh, of course. but i would say that, you know, to be fair, we did what we did because we understood west virginia. we're a small state, and people really do know each other. every state's going to be different, but certainly, you know, creating that plan of clarity, your priority of who to vaccinate, that team where everybody can speak their mind and act as one, and then, you know, maintaining control of the vaccine doses and moving them quickly, certainly i think that's a recipe for success.
>> i want to ask up more specifically about west virginia. but since we're on the national level, you know, some of these places if you look nationwide, not necessarily in west virginia, but they are, you know, at the end of the day, they're having extra doses of vaccine or what have you, people not showing up. would it be prudent or would it be possible to give, you know, the number of people -- you know if it's 65 or over or whatever it might be, allow as many people to come in until a certain time at night, and then past that hour, anybody who wants to come in until you run out of doses, is that something because i don't understand why they're not doing that and they're just hanging on to these doses. and sometimes they're being lost, right? they're having to throw some of it away. so why not do something like that? is that possible? would that work? >> sure. it's possible. here's what we learned, don, from our experience. so number one is having clinics
where people just show up to get the vaccines, first come, first served, that doesn't work very well. many people wait almost all night and then don't get vaccine. having clinics where people schedule a time works better. but we have started what i believe is the first program in the country where we're partnering with a digital identification and communications system called ever bridge where we are now starting to pre-register every west virginian in the state, and we're using an online portal and a phone portal for people that don't have that capacity to go online. but what we're doing, don, is we're creating a sort of a large queue that then sits people in the queue based on our priority and based on when they put their name in the queue. and this system interfaces back and forth for them. so we have backups that are
available if our initial doses that are not utilizes. and having that backup plan but staying within your prioritization scheme is i think a factor of success. >> thank you, dr. marsh. listen, i hope that the administration and the team who is administering these vaccines, that they can learn something from west virginia. thank you so much. i appreciate it. >> thank you. new arrests and charges over the capitol insurrection as evidence mounts up, including against the brother of a secret service agent who once guarded michelle obama. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath. never settle for 25%. always go for 100. bring out the bold™
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the house delivering the article of impeachment to the senate tonight, but it's not clear whether the former president will be held accountable for inciting the rob that rioted in the capitol. more and more are being charged, nearly 140 so far. as arrests and charges keep pouring in, we're learning more about the insurrectionists among us. joining me now, cnn's senator justice correspondent evan perez. how are you doing, sir? >> hey, don. how are you? >> i'm doing very well. there's some breaking news tonight. more than 15,000 national guard troops in d.c., but "the new york times" is reporting that at least one national guard member is under investigation. what do you know? >> that's right. "the times" is reporting that there is one national guard member who is under investigation. apparently he was seen taking photographs in front of speaker nancy pelosi's office, and he's holding up two middle fingers while he's trying to take these
photographs. so that apparently was reported to the national guard, and so as a result of that, at least that person is under investigation. it's not clear whether the others who are there taking pictures are also under investigation. we reached out to the national guard. we haven't heard back. but they gave this statement. tracy o'grady gave this statement to "the new york times." she says, i can tell you this kind of behavior you described does not represent the professionalism of the national guard. we do not tolerate behavior that is rude, unmannerly, and disparaging towards the dignity of others. and, don, obviously we're talking about one member of tens of thousands who have been here in d.c., in my neighborhood. so obviously it seems like an aberration from what we've seen. >> mm-hmm. so we're getting new information about one of the alleged rioters whose brother is a secret service agent, once led michelle obama's detail. what do you know about that? >> his name is scott fairlamb, and he's from new jersey, and he
is seen in some pictures we'll show you right now from videos that he took, he shot himself actually on youtube and so on, from the riot at the capitol. right now according to prosecutors, he's accused of punching and hitting a police officer, but, don, this describes -- you know, he describes his presence there as part of this revolution. now, the interesting thing here is that his brother is a secret service agent by the name of preston fairlamb, and he was the head of michelle obama's protection detail. we're told by a lawyer for scott fairlamb that the brother, the secret service agent, had no knowledge, was not at all aware of his brother's involvement in the riot. but obviously the fact that he was there has become a pretty big deal. we expect that we're going to
hear more about these charges. obviously, assault on an officer is going to be a big deal, an important part of these arrests. >> i want to get this question in before we run out of time. there's another infamous rioter in court too, the man who was seen in the u.s. capitol carrying a confederate flag appeared alongside his son. what's the latest on their case? >> right. what a father/son bonding moment, right? >> i thought you were going to say something else. i was like -- >> i mean seriously, what a father/son bonding moment where you go and you're going before a judge. today, kevin sigfried is the father. the 51-year-old father is the one you see in that now infamous photograph waving the confederate banner in the halls of congress. they have made their first appearance today. they were ordered to stay away from d.c. except for their court appearances. obviously they're facing charges
for entering the capitol building without permission. but, again, you know, it's kind of an amaziing thing to see thi father bringing his son to this moment. it becomes obviously one of the most infamous acts in american history. >> thanks, evan. thank you very much. we'll be right back. finish quantum with activeblu technology, cleans without pre-rinsing. switch to finish and skip the rinse to save water.
one thing already on the president's agenda, exploring ways to speed up release of $20 bills featuring abolitionist harriet tubman. the white house announcing that today after the trump administration stalled the plan initiated by president barack obama. harriet tubman, the once enslaved african-american woman who guided dozens of enslaved people to freedom through the underground railroad in the 18 hundreds would replace president andrew jackson on the bill. joining me now is the author of the sword and the shield. we love having you on, sir. thank you so much for joining us. i know this is already going to be a fascinating conversation with you. what is the significance of president biden trying to speed up this process with harriet tubman on the $20? >> well, don, it's always great talking with you. i think it's both powerful symbolically and substantively of the fact that this announcement follows on the
heels of a raft of executive orders promoting racial equity, promoting racial justice, the revocation of the 1776 commission, and really centering racial justice in our federal government is really huge. harriet tubman is obviously a freedom fighter. symbolism matters. representation matters. but representation always has to be linked to substance. this president has done more in the first week when we think about executive orders and centering racial justice than any president since u.s. grant in 1869, 1870 and linden baines johnson. so we're seeing the fierce urgency of now in terms of the biden administration. and on top of that, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that the president has proposed will absolutely impact black and brown and underserved communities in big, robust ways. so this is good news. >> in 2016, i'm sure you
remember then-candidate trump called the decision to redesign the bill pure political correctness. can you explain why people are against changing it? >> well, i think, don, we're so used to having white men on our currency that this -- to try to diversify that and say, look, they're important. alexander hamilton's important. andrew jackson's important, but we have the fullness of the american experience actually includes these heroes and these architects of american democracy like harriet tubman. so this idea of political correctness and the displacement of the status quo, that's really an old canard. i think what's exciting about the biden administration is this idea of centering racial justice as a way to mold consensus. dr. king said that vanity asks what is popular, but conscience asks what is right. and i think what they're doing right now, the biden/harris administration is doing what's right.
and in doing so, you'll mold consensus because we know symbolism matters. we've spent four years of white house power signs and winks to proud boys and brief seen that symbolism matters. so this idea of centering racial justice, and, yes, harriet tubman, a proud american, a proud african-american who lived during racial slavery and lived during reconstruction afterwards should be deserving of that recognition, and it's part of that broader american family. so i think this is fabulous, especially for young people to see that because so many young people are going to be much more interested in finding out who harriet tubman is because she's still, of course, not as well known as the founding fathers. >> we always enjoy having you on. we appreciate your expertise and your knowledge of history and current events as well. thank you, sir. we'll see you soon. >> thank you. >> thank you. thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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