tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN February 15, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
just minutes ago, president biden sending a direct message to russian president vladimir putin and to the russian people. "the lead" starts right now. breaking news moments ago, president biden saying there is plenty of room for diplomacy to still work but if russia invades ukraine, all options are on the table. our experts are standing by. and also ahead, an american first for an american problem. a gun maker held legally liable for the sandy hook massacre where 26 first graders and six adults were gunned down.
now reactions. and skating her way or cheating her way to gold, the russian figure skater kamila valiyeva takes the ice who said she only failed her test because of an innocent mix-up with her grandfather's medicine. welcome to "the lead." we start with breaking news. president biden addressing the world from the white house saying he wants to give gloems every chance to succeed with russia, but it still remains distinctly possible that putin will order an attack. believing russia now has 150,000 troops encircling ukraine. biden also acknowledged russia's claims today that it is moving some troops away from the ukrainian border after recent military drills. but biden said the u.s. has not been able to confirm whether that russian claim is true.
let's get straight to kaitlan collins, nic robertson is live for us. why did the white house think it was important for president biden to come out and give this speech today? this direct address to the world and to putin and the russian people? >> reporter: that's something they haven't fully explained yet. this was a speech not on president biden's schedule when we woke up this morning. they debated having it. they were clear, they did not expect it to be a major announcement from president biden. instead it was more of a status update. and it was the first time we had seen the president address this. he said the united states has not verified the claims by russians that they are pulling back some of the troops on ukraine's border. that was a claim met for obvious reasons with a healthy dose of skepticism. he did say it would be a good thing if they did do that but they haven't verified it.
that the threat of an invasion remains distinctly possible because of where they have the troops on the borders, that we can still see positioned. and he did increase the number from what previous assessments had been, 130,000 russian forces surrounding ukraine. he now said that was at least 150,000 forces. so the president coming out saying they will continue to try to pursue diplomacy here but warning, this idea that we've been talking about the last several weeks now, that an invasion could happen, is still very much on the table. >> nic, in moscow, it was pretty interesting. president biden directly addressing the russian people. let's play a small clip of that. >> the united states and nato are not a threat to russia. ukraine is not threatening russia. neither the u.s. nor nato have missiles in ukraine. we do not, do not have plans to put them there as well. we're not targeting the people of russia.
we do not seek the disdestabilize russia. to the citizens of russia, you are not our enemy and i do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against ukraine. >> so it was 11:30 at night in moscow when biden started speaking. i don't know if it was carried live. did russian state media air it? >> reporter: not so far, jake. and i think we can estimate fairly accurately, when they do, it will get -- president biden's message will get somewhat mangled through the spin machine that runs on state tv. president biden's message, if it lands with the people here, it is one that will perhaps resonate. certainly a lot of people here who don't want war, they don't want to go to war with the people of ukraine. but president putin has so constricted and essentially suffocated the independent media, getting president biden's message to land in the way that he made it is going to be
extremely difficult. and of course, everyday, we hear from the kremlin that everything that comes from washington, d.c., from the white house, is all spin. it is hyperbole, it is a propaganda message. so president biden is really trying to get, to undermine the kremlin's propaganda. it will be a big ask to hope that it can land squarely but it will land with some people. >> there was a direct contrast to what putin said and what biden said about what can be negotiated. >> reporter: yeah. this was really interesting. president biden said yes, we can negotiate. we can negotiate on the transparency of troops. we can negotiate over sort of arms control, on strategic stability, we can negotiate about that. but we're not going to deviate from our core principles and those core principles, that ukraine has the right to join nato and nato won't go back to its 1997 alliances the kremlin wants. contrasting that, president
putin said he is ready to negotiate. he's ready to negotiate on some of the smaller things that i spoke of but only, only if it is negotiating as well on those core issues, the core demands that russia has, that president biden has again said are not up for discussion. so where president putin think this is road of discussion is going to go, or how he will get on it when he spets threshold, president biden has answered that question. there is a high threshold here. >> and clarissa ward is in kyiv, the capital. russia claims they're withdrawing some troops from the border. we just heard president biden say that would be welcome news but the u.s. has not verified that it is true. what do ukrainian government officials, the ukrainian people think about the veracity of that statement? >> reporter: well, perhaps unsurprisingly, there is not a huge amount of trust here. in fact there is a lot of skepticism and we saw that reflected in the comments of the foreign minister here, dmeet.
if we do see a meaningful reduction of russian troops then we will greet that happily as a marked sign of de-escalation. until we see something significant, something actually tangible, then no one is rushing to celebrate. as you mentioned, president biden said that it does not appear yet, that they have not been able to verify that that troop reduction has begun. that some analysts say they continue to maintain threatening positions. we also heard from the head of nato who said the same thing. so far they haven't seen any signs of de-escalation. so while i think there's definitely a chink of light throughout the course of the day, given the sort of hopes for diplomacy now, there is undergirding that huge amount of skepticism and cynicism as to how it is playing out. nobody wants to get duped here and nobody wants to take their eye off the ball until it becomes clear that there is
really a meaningful de-escalation. >> and kaitlan, president biden addressed the poe essential consequences the american people might see if russia invades ukraine. tell us more about that. >> reporter: i think that's been a big part of conversation over the last several weeks. we've seen the build-up happen. people wonder how that affects them here. not just the print of democracy and sovereignty which is something that he and his national security team have pushed but also the energy impacts of this. talking about their efforts to shield americans from the impacts they could very well see from that. he said this would not be painless for americans here at home if this invasion does move forward. obviously, he was talking about what is really important here. the humanitarian costs that could happen. if this russian invasion, of course, the u.s. has assessed they are capable of doing, was carried out. but he is talking about the difficulties they would see when it comes to energy prices at home. he talked about how he has offered warnings and his national security team to the russians about the effects that they went after u.s. companies
when it comes to these cyber attacks which is another major factor of a potential invasion that we've talked about. >> kaitlan at the white house. clarissa in ukraine and nic in moscow. thank you, one and all. joining us to discuss, under president obama, and distinguished fellow at the woodrow wilson center, and robin wright. president biden argues there's plenty of room to argue for diplomacy. here a littlettle snippet. >> the united states has put on the table. we're proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures, new strategic stability measures. these measures apply to all parties. nato and russia alike. >> i have a difficult time imagining that will sway putin and convince him of the good intentions that the americans and nato have.
>> yeah. i think that's right. i think the president needs to put on the table as he has today, but also in written statements to the russians. an idea about what we might be able to talk about and there's plenty to talk about if we want to find ways to improve european security. there are measures that it may not have applied in the 1990s, to revisit and a number of that. the reality of the matter is that what putin wants is something we can't give him through diplomacy. he wants to control ukraine. he wants to, in many ways, reset the european security order that was agreed to after the cold war. in some ways, he wants to end american dominance. not only to the world. these aren't things that can be negotiated and frankly, i don't even know whether he can achieve those militarily. it seems to be that he wants to threaten us into unilateral surrender. and biden went out today and
said, it won't happen. this will be a very costly mistake if putin continues to threaten and then further invade ukraine. and we're ready for that. and it was a statement that we needed to hear. >> robin, president biden didn't. >> announcer: any new policies. he did make this direct appeal to the russian people. what do you think of the speech? what do you think about the strategy behind the speech? >> reporter: well, the reality is nothing has changed. we are at the pentagon this weekend, at the crescendo moment. at the precipice. the russians have troops stationed around three sides of a country the size, slightly smaller than texas. and putin is pushing his agenda despite the overture to diplomacy, despite the claim that some troops have withdrawn. and you know, nothing is
negotiable when it comes to the fundamentals. i think vladimir putin is the four vectors that produced this crisis are still very much in place. he looks at it very differently than we do. we look at what can we do to compromise on these issues of european security, and putin looks at ukraine as something that is part of historic russia dating back more than a millennia, and on those grounds, there is very little room for compromise. so we are now at that moment where both sides claim to be interested in diplomacy. and yet it is very interesting to see, because of the different sense of history, of what strategic values or goals are, that it is very hard to see where there is room for compromise. putin is now crafting his legacy. he is almost 70. he has looked at ukraine and the manifesto he issued last year as something that he wants to be
part of russia one way or the other. >> president biden did say there would be consequences for the american people including higher energy prices. he's clearly trying to explain to the american people why they should care, even though it has been very clearly stated by president biden and others in his administration that u.s. troops are not going into ukraine. what do you think of that part of the job that he's doing, trying to explain to people why they should care? the american public? >> well, i think he's doing a good job explaining why freedom matters. i think as to how he ended it, if we don't stop when freedom is attacked here, we will pay a higher price somewhere else. he also underscored the incredible importance of the nato alliance to stay together and of the u.s. commitment and the commitment of all allies to defend each other and every inch of nato territory. ukraine is not a member of nato
and therefore, that commitment doesn't exist toward it but it is important that when you have 150,000 troops of the strongest military power in europe ready to roll in massive force, not only into ukraine but possibly further. that we make very clear to our friends and allies, the romanians, baltics, poles, others. we have a nato defense ministers, tomorrow, this is the right time for the president to say, we do hope for diplomacy, we want diplomacy but we have principles and we need to stand on our principles and here's how we will be able to unite all the nato countries. and it is important for the american people to understand that standing up for principle is what has made america the power it has long been since the end of world war ii, that we
need to bring that power if the rest of the world is going to be able to rely us on. so that's why we are here. that's why it is important. if there's a cost to be paid, we will pay those costs. it is important that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends who embrace democracy and want to choose their own future and not let a bully like putin determine their future for them. >> robin wright, any final thoughts? what do you think the american people should prepare for? do you think putin will invade? >> reporter: if i were beating woman, i would suspect his interests are in exerting his influence, one way or another, over ukraine. i think the important thing to remember in all of this is that the issue is not just ukraine. it is really the kinds of thing we fought for in world war ii, during the cold war. that when he talks about liberty and freedom, the western alliance and all the things the united states has built to try to avoid the kind of conflicts we saw in the 20th century. that this is a much bigger issue
that will define much of the 21st century, and america's place in the world, frankly. >> thank you both. appreciate it. so what is actually happening on the ground in ukraine? are ukrainians bracing for an attack or going about their lives? thanks. plus, california dreaming about taking off masks and being face to face withth strangers. the latest restrictions, coming up. ready to style in just one step? introducing new tresemme one step stylers. five professional benefits. one simple step. tolly effortless. styling has never been easier. tresemme. do it with style. kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex. we still have 12 hours to australia. mucinex lasts 12 hours, so i'm good. now move! kim, no!
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and alex, i'll start with you. president zelensky will be there in mariupol tomorrow. he would go right through the city that you're in. is there any sense there that putin is serious about de-escalation? >> reporter: well, jake, you really do get a sense here of the mixed messaging from russia. the confusion over what they're doing. there are claims they are withdrawing. at the same time we're seeing them build up. we are in m amp riupol on the sea of azov. that's also where crimea is. it could help invade ukraine from the south. now, today, the russians are saying that they are withdrawing some of their troops from crimea. they say the troops along with tanks and artillery got on trains and are heading back to russia. that of course, remains to be seen. and jake, at the same time, we're also seeing satellite
imagery that shows they are continuing to build up around here. straight across the water, across the sea of azov, we have seen satellite imagery of ten new strike bombers based in russia. they could get here in no time. at the same time, that same set of satellite imagery is showing that some 60 new helicopters have arrived in crimea, being based at an air base that hasn't been used in around 20 years. so that build-up is continuing. as you know, it has long been thought that putin has wanted to join crimea which he seized eight years ago with the russian mainland. that would come right through here. we are about 35 miles from the russian border, even closer to that area of fighting where russia has been backing separatists against ukrainian forces the last eight years. >> all right. stay safe. thank you. let's go now to erin burnett live in lviv. both the ukrainian website one
and of the the largest commercial banks were both hit by an apparent cyberattack today. what are you learning about that? >> reporter: so we've always heard this would be what putin would do as a precursor to an actual physical invasion. i should note they had done similar attacks, the attacks we see, in january. obviously not directly clear that putin is behind this but i will tell you who was attacked and you can make your own inference. the ministry of defense, the armed forces of ukraine websites, both of those are down, as well as one other major ukrainian bank. that's what we see. and they are major attacks. when you go to the website, you can't load it or get information. as of now, we understand they're still down. that's the situation we're in. where it is this uncertainty moment by moment. and an instability. a feeling of what does this mean? is this nothing? j or something different?
>> you met with a group of civilians in lviv who are training for conflict. >> reporter: it was amazing. the national pride here is very palpable, and you and i have discussed this, i've been saying this, this is true whether you tend to speak ukrainian or russian. and a lot of people are much more comfortable speaking russian. that doesn't mean they aren't passionately and ardently ukrainian. civilians are getting ready. most to prepare to defend themselves and their actual homes. some of them going out in full tactical gear. people who are used to shooting, who are arming themselves now with things like ar-15 rifles, to fight. and we spoke to one of them. we went to a shooting range where some of them are preparing. they are guys with college degrees, graduate degrees, and they are prepared to fight. i talked to one of them. and here's what he said he is seeing at the shooting club now. >> we see a growing tendency for
people wanting to learn to shoot. so we are kind of having this weekly trainings for the civilians, and last week we had training for 350 people. so guys just want to learn how to shoot because they want to protect their families. >> reporter: so people want to protect their families, jake, and that's the vast majority. all ages. he said he was helping teach an 11-year-old boy and his family over the weekend. but again, you also see these men who are much more experienced, who are prepared to do whatever they need to do on the streets and who are actually coordinating with ukrainian defense forces and ukrainian police because they say they are ready and they don't think russia realizes that. >> erin burnett. thank you so much for that great reporting. and you can see more from erin as she anchors "outfront" at 7:00 p.m. eastern only on cnn.
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spreading like wildfire. another graph shows a more concerning downward trend. fewer people are getting booster shots. as alexander field reports now, that slowing pace has some health experts worried. >> reporter: california joining the wave of states saying goodbye to mask mandates. with one exception. like some other states recently dropping mandates, masks are still required in schools. they plan to reassess at the end of the month. >> it is reasonable. since they're in schools together and always passing by each other, i think it is best they wear the masks. >> reporter: while in virginia, they plan to end school mask mandates now. >> i'm really looking forward to seeing kids and parents reestablish their decision rights. >> the rollback of restrictions continuing as covid cases nationwide plummet. down about 80% from the omicron peak, hovering now around pre omicron levels. before the cdc makes any new
recommendations on how to move forward. >> if it continues to go in that direction, you're going to be seeing the cdc makes the recommendations. at the end of the day, it is for the locals to do it. >> just five states still have mask mandates in place along with puerto rico. washington, d.c. is letting its mandate lapse at the end of the month. >> we're trending in the right direction. there are expectations about what we may be able to do if we keep moving in the right direction but we're not there yet. >> deaths across the country still remain high, averaging around 2,300 a day. new cdc data showing omicron's toll on children with peak hospitalizations four times higher than during the delta surge. as the pace of booster shots hits a low not seen since the cdc first recommended booster shots for seniors and at-risk people in september. and jake, as the country looks to make its way out of the pandemic, there will be a new fda commissioner to lead the way. the senate voting to confirm dr.
robert caleb. six republicans voting for the pick. five democrats voting against after expressing only significance to his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. >> thank you. let's bring in michael, the director for the center for infectious disease research and policy. good to see you again. i want to dig into this drop in numbers. the weekly average of daily cases is down 44% since last week. covid hospitalizations dropped 23% versus last week. covid deaths down 10% since last week. you've been studying infectious disease for decades. might these numbers suggest that the omicron variant is petering out in the u.s.? >> well, this virus is doing what we expected it to do in november and december. cause viral blizzard. with the viral blizzard, at the end of that blizzard come sunny days and that is what we're seeing right now. we have to be careful based on data from south africa and some of the european countries.
it didn't come down at the very tail as much as we had hoped it would, meaning it won't be anywhere near the peak. in fact, it could have ongoing transmission of some concern in our communities for the weeks and months ahead. >> the numbers also suggest that the pace has slowed for booster shots. in september when the cdc first recommended that everybody who is vaccinated and go get a booster, only 28% of americans are fully boosted. what do you make of the slowing trend? do you think for the most part, everyone who wanted a booster got one and for whatever reasons, most folks didn't think they needed to get it? >> well, you know, this is a real challenge. the people that need to get that extra dose, and i'm one of those that hate calling it a booster. i think it should have been a three-prong vaccine. three doses, before you really complete being fully vaccinated. the point is, what is confusing to us, these are people willing to get the first two. they weren't vaccine hesitant. so it is important to get that third one.
date last week from the cdc and a number of studies coming out now showing that that third dose can be very important in reducing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. so we have to keep pushing it there, knowing that this is the group most likely to get that extra dose that we in fact continue to emphasize why it is so important. >> the state of california today dropped its mask mandate. except in schools. does it make sense to drop mask mandates everywhere except this schools? and if so, can you explain that to me? i don't get it. >> i can't explain mandates overall. a mask is a mask is a mask. people wearing face cloth coverings and the data we have supporting how well they work are really wearing nothing more than apparel decoration. we need to wear high quality masks. the n-95 respirators, the kn-95s, and omicron is by far
the most infectious of the viruses. really begging that we have to wear these much higher levels of infection. so just mandating a mask to me has never been an important public health element. it is about are we also mandating the fact they're using high quality, true respiratory infection masks. >> what about the disconnect between bars and restaurants? you don't have to do masks anymore, arenas for concerts, but schools still do it. >> there is been an inconsistent plant. we need a better plan for what we mean by better masking and why. we've created our own problems by forcing masking in a way that was not always that protective on the public. an n-95 respirator, the kind that you can readily buy at any hardware store, can be highly effective in reducing risk of getting infected or transmitting the virus bust we have not
conveyed that. if you walk out on the streets where they are wearing a mask, it is nothing more than a chin diaper. it does nothing to protect them. so whether it is a school, a bar, a restaurant, anywhere, we have to wear high quality respiratory protection masks or we're doing very little except upsetting people by telling them they have to wear that face cloth covering. >> thank you so much. a ground-breaking settlement in one of the worst school shootings in history. why the sandy hook parents say this should serve as a warning to all gun makers. stay with us.
in our national lead, for the first time ever, a gun manufacturer is being held legally liable for a mass shooting in the united states. 20 first graders and six adults were gunned down with a semi-automatic rifle at the sandy hook elementary school in connecticut. today the families of nine victim agreed to a $73 million settlement with remmington, the manufacturer of that gun. they had sued remmington years ago saying the company was partly responsibility because of how the company marked the weapon, touting its combat style. erica hill is live for us in connecticut where the families held an emotional press conference. tell us more. what did they have to say? >> reporter: yeah. that number will grab your attention. $73 million. what we heard from the family and the attorneys, this is not about the money. what they were going after were the marketing practices which she said violated connecticut state law. and that was going to be an uphill battle, is what everybody
said. today we can tell you, that $73 million settlement included another part. the families say is key here when it come to accountability and specifically, more information on those marketing practices. the other part of the settlement is that they now have access to thousands of internal documents and, jake, they can make those documents public. with the families and the attorneys say, is that this will show why and how this marketing was, in their words, such a problem in the way that it went after specifically young men. >> you sat down with some of the family members. >> did i. this was emotional, after nine years, when you're talking about 20 kindergarteners and first graders who were gunned down. .and sat down with a couple whose 7-year-old son daniel was killed on that day. they talked about what it is like in these moments when it feels like a bit of a victory
but it is understandably, jake, hollow. >> we have the moments where there's any kind of a victory or form of progress you want to celebrate and then it hits you lake a gut punch. you know, our daniel is still gone. it's a strange psychological dynamic that continues to beat the crap out of us. we can protect other families by course correcting for this advertising practices that these companies are engaging in. we'll do that. accountability. especially when you're marketing the single most lethal consumer product there is. you should have extra responsibility. >> reporter: none of this will bring any of those lives back. what we kept hearing today is this is about what is right and what is wrong. this is about accountability and about pulling back the curtain on the gun industry and how
things are done. an industry that really up until today, many have seen as being one with basically immunity. that changed today. >> yeah. i interviewed mark years ago and there is no such thing as closure in situations like that. it is always going to be awful. thank you. so. really important. a really important story. another significant legal settlement revealed today, britain's prince andrew will not have to testify in that trial related to a lawsuit, accusing him of sexually assaulting an underage girl, virginia, his accuser, has reached a settlement with him. he claimed that jeffrey epstein trafficked her when she was 17 and forced her to have sex with his friends, including three times with the prince. a new court document shows that prince andrew entered into some sort of financial agreement that includes an undisclosed substantial donation to charity in support of victims rights. the prince says he regrets his association with epstein and pledges to demonstrate it by
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figure skating prodigy kamila valiyeva took ice today after the court allowed the 15-year-old to compete despite failing a doping test. she told the international olympic xhae the positive test in december was a result of an innocent mix-up with her grandfather's medication. cnn was inside the stadium for the emotional return to the ice. >> reporter: kamila valiyeva, favored to take gold at these olympics, raced into the lead with the single competition allowed that despite her testing positive for a banned drug. she explained it by saying it was a mix-up with her grandfather's medication. >> presented the elements which brought some doubts. she was in a very special situation that the olympic games take place only every four
years, and if she would miss the competition, in these games, the damage would not be repaired. >> reporter: the 15-year-old stumbled on her first jump but she gave an otherwise stellar performance, sealing her place in the program. valiyeva visibly emotional when she finished her routine. she returned the drug test on christmas day but it was only last week that the sample was reported to have come back positive for the drug trimetazidine after she and her teammates had already won gold here. a glimpse behind the glimmering surface into the murky world of russian sports. >> maybe it is time for russia in the olympics. simply say, you will not be invited into the next games. you will not be able to host any
olympic sport events and so forth. that will get their attention. >> reporter: team usa not holding back in a statement. quote, this appears to be another chapter in the system attic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by russia. the russian figure skating federation president labelling the decision, common sense and justice. but though the russian olympic committee says valiyeva tested positive for banned performance enhancing drugs, inescapable is that clean athletes are performing against an athlete who tested positive once. with chime's rights record, this is tanlting the sport here as well. and jake, valiyeva burst into tears when she finished her performance as if she was feeling the weight of this controversy. when she walked off the ice, she had a solemn expression, immediately holding on to her stuffed animal. it was a stark reminder that she
is just 15 years old. a victim, many say, of russia's system. this is not only tainting her sensational talent but the integrity of these entire olympics. >> all right. inside the olympic bubble for us. can the world really believe vladimir putin's claim that he does not want war? the former national security adviser, and u.n. ambassador, john bolten will join us next. migraine attacks? qulipta™ can help prevent migraine attacks. it can't prevent triggers, like your next period or strs. you can't prevent what's going ooutside, qupta™ is a pill. gets right to work to prent migraine attacks and keeps them away over time. qulipta™ blocks cgrp a protein believed to be a cause of migraine attacks. qulipta is a preventive treatment for episodic migraine.
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welcome to "the lead." this hour, the one-word change impacting thousands of people. how a priest's 20-year long mistake could mean thousands of catholics might need to get b baptized and even married again. plus, a radical treatment using brain surgery to try to combat opioid addiction. and president biden addressed the world, saying he want to give diplomacy every chance to succeed with russia butterfly biden also appealing directly to the russian people saying he does not believe most of them want a bloody war with ukraine. as matthew chance records, not just to russian ukraine but the united states if putin does if fact ultimately start an invasion. >> to the citizens of russia, you are not our enemy. >> reporter: president biden with a powerful message for
russia. it appears it stands on the brink of war with ukraine. a war that he said would be a self-inafflicted wound. >> if russia attacks ukraine, it would be a war of choice, or a war without cause or reason. if russia does invade in the days and weeks ahead, the human cost for ukraine will be immense. >> reporter: president biden spoke as the crisis reaches a potential turning point. with these images of what russia says is a drawdown of some of its forces near the ukrainian border. russian defense officials say these tanks and other armored vehicles have been taking part in planned tactical exercises, and are now returning to their permanent basis. it is a possible russian de-escalation that has been greeted in ukraine and elsewhere with suspicion. >> translator: we continuously hear different statements from russia so we have a rule. we believe not what we hear but what we see. if we see the pullout, we will believe in de-escalation. >> reporter: but it's not just a
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