tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN February 20, 2022 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
you're live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm phil mattingly in for jim acosta. we begin with breaking news. the u.s. has intelligence indicating orders from been sent to russian commanders to proceed with an attack on ukraine according to two u.s. officials and another source familiar with that intelligence. all of this comes as president biden convened his national security council at the white house earlier today on the
crisis. the u.s. continues to warn moscow could strike ukraine at any moment. still holds out some hope diplomatic efforts will prevail. meanwhile, violence continues to escalate in ukraine. officials say more than 100 cease-fire violations in the eastern part of the country recorded just this weekend. stoking even more fears that an invasion could happen soon. right now it's estimated as many as 190,000 russian personnel are in and around ukraine including the breakaway regions in eastern europe. cnn's arlette saenz is live at the white house following the fast-moving developments. last hour i spoke with cnn anchor and chief national security correspondent jim sciutto in ukraine about this new u.s. intelligence and here's what he told me. >> reporter: latest u.s. intelligence assessment orders have been sent to tactical commanders to proceed with an invasion of ukraine. this according to officials with direct knowledge of that intelligence reporting by myself
and my colleague natasha bertrand. could be clear, the context important when assessing intelligence like this. one of several indicators u.s. officials and u.s. military are watching for indicating to them that an invasion is in its final stages of preparation. this is one of them. others that they're looking for, for instance, electronic jamming of signals here in this country, massive cyber attacks have not yet been observed. we should also note that orders such as this that were be rescinded and throughout this conflict, disinformation has been part of the battle space, and it's possible that intelligence like this could be deliberate, perhaps intended to mislead. that said, it's important, because we have heard from the president, the secretary of state, the vice president, the defense secretary of state in recent days saying it is their view, it is the u.s. view, that putin, that russia, has made the decision to invade. we've heard that first from president biden on friday. since then heard it echoed by vice president harris in munich,
antony blinken today saying in this words the russian playbooplaybook, invasion playbook in his words is moving forward. again, intelligence orders sent to tactical commanders to proceed with invasion. important indicator. other indicators the u.s. is still looking for indicating with them this is set to happen. >> jim sciutto for us in lviv, ukraine. thank you. and cnn's arlette saenz is at the white house for us. arlette, busy day for the president on just this issue. just wrapped up a phone call with french president macron as these tensions rise, spoke with the president of ukraine earlier? >> reporter: telephone diplomacy going on today and president biden sent about 15 minutes on the phone with the french president, emmanuel macron after he held back-to-back calls with russia's president vladimir
putin and ukrainian president zelensky as the u.s. is hoping there is some type of diplomatic path to avert an invacation of ukraine. now, the president also this morning and part of the afternoon held a very rare meeting of the national security council in the situation room. the white house released a photo where you can see top cabinet officials including the secretary of state, defense secretary, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, cia director, director of national intelligence, national security adviser all at meeting as well as treasury secretary janet yellen, playing a very important role with the sanctions should putin move forward with invasion. u.s. facing pressure from people including ukrainian president zelensky who want to see these sanctions outlined before an invasion takes place, but the u.s. top officials have defended the decision to wait on those sanctions. take a listen what, to what the
pentagon spokesperson, retired navy rear ed merrill john kirby had to say earlier today. >> he has not conducted another invasion in ukraine yet, and we want to, we still think there's time to prevent that. so it's supposed to be a deterrent, if you punish somebody for something they haven't done yet, they might as well go ahead and do it. holding that in abeyance and hoping to affect the calculus of mr. putin. >> reporter: even as the u.s. continues to warn russia could attack at any day, the white house still maintains that diplomacy may be an option. secretary of state antony blinken saying president biden would be willing to speak with putin at nim time or format if it would avert an invasion of ukraine, but they are fully aware that diplomatic window is quickly closing. phil? >> certainly seems to be. arlette saenz, thank you 10so
much. joining us, david sanger, political and cnn analyst and white house correspondent for the "new york times." david, today secretary of state antony blinken doubled down on the assertion that believes president putin made the decision to invade ukraine. didn't rule out diplomacy. you had a chance to speak with him over the weekend. what was your big takeaway from that conversation? >> well, secretary blinken was here at the munich security conference, and as he was speaking at the conference tshs w it was pretty clear that his enthusiasm for diplomacy continues, but he doesn't seem to think very much of whether the russians have engaged, and when you think about it. almost all of the engagement that has taken place so far by the russians has happened while they have been steadily increasing all of their buildups
in the region. and so that has not worked out to leave any significant diplomacy. now, the secretary did say publicly that he had invited lavrov, the foreign minister in russia, to meet him here in europe next week, but there's a condition to it. and the condition is that no invasion can begin before that meeting takes place. so this is back, phil, with the way they've been doing this so far which is sort of treated as a haostage negotiation and keeping the person taking the hostages talking at all times in hopes they can talk him out of it. i got the impression that secretary blinken would like to see that happen, but he's seen no evidence right now that they're really interested in
loosening the grip. >> one of the things, when you talk to republicans, there are not a lot of national security focused republicans. they quibble how the administration handled this overall. generally support them, in line with them except one issue when to trigger sanctions. if the u.s., if this administration, has intelligence or feels like it's a near certainty russia is going to invade, what trationale for not triggers this beforehand if they think it's already a done deal? >> a really good question. especially now with reporting that you have that was posed and we at the "times" reported intelligence strongly suggests the order's already gone out. there are three reasons at work here. first, even her to an order has gone out it can be rescinded. remember when the united states sent military forces in the air to haiti a number of years ago, president clinton reversed them
while it was in the air. the second is, that if you take the first action, you're the first mover by doing the sanctions, the russian koss say, well, we weren't going to invade, but since your sanctions us were e regard as an act of war because you're trying to cut us off from the world financial system, we're going to go ahead with military action. and the third reason is that the sanctions are intended as deterrent and why they're advertised in advance. if you use them before the action takes con -- putin mike conclude they're sanctions me whether i attack or not. i might as well attack. doesn't make sense to do the sanctions early in my view. >> something else tied into this. you've written about this. the administration dbeing so forward. realtime releasing intelligence overlooked friday. when one of the president's top national security issues focused
and cyber came out and attributed the cyber attack in ukraine directly to the russian government, directly to the gru in stunningly quick fashion. talking days, which you never see in that. some of the questions about, well, has that been effective president putin is still going to invade. might be missing the point. you picked on this. when you talk to officials what's their rationale? deterrence, yes, but other positions why they've been so forward. why? >> the main reason that they have done this is to try to disrupt the russian operation. so if you believe they're intelligence and the russians have identified somebody who they're getting ready to place in as the new president of ukraine as a puppet, once you outed that person's name, it's very hard for the russians to go ahead and try to make it look like this person emerged as a
natural leader. if you expose, as ms. neuberger did, the cyber activity right away and attribute it right away, because this was a fairly familiar kind of attack's i don't think it took a whole lot to do the attribution, then you make it a little bit harder. you put everybody on alert about a certain type of code coming from a certain place. and you put the hackers who were doing this somewhat on the defensive. not permanently but temporarily. the whole idea here is to throw president putin and his intelligence agencies off their game by exposing each thing. the down side to it, phil is that if you expose a series of things in order to prevent them and then they don't happen, it enables the russians to say, well, you said i would install somebody as president. i didn't. you said i would attack on wednesday. i didn't. so you can over time erode your
own credibility. >> but if that leads to them being wrong about an invasion, i think they'd probably take that. david singer. >> exactly. i think you heard secretary blinken say that at his u.n. speech. he said it again here in munich. he said, i'm willing to take the criticism that i have revealed too much here and thrown them off, if it stops what would be perhaps one of the largest military conflicts on the european continent since 1945. >> yep. it's been a fascinating strategic effort over the part couple of weeks. thanks, my friend. appreciate it. >> great to be with you, phil. as the world watches escalating tensions between russia and ukraine, here in the united states, ukrainian communities are on edge. live in new york city, part of manhattan the east village used to be known at little ukraine and home to many people from the
country. what is new york's ukrainian population saying in this very tense moment. >> reporter: phil 150,000 residents and faith a big part of their life. many coming to places of worship including st. george ukrainian catholic church behind me turning to prayer and praying for safety of so many loved ones and family, still half a word away caught in conflict. certainly seems to be intensifying this weekend. you're about to hear from an organizer explaining they are going beyond just the power of prayer and actually taking real steps to make contact with those friends and family that are still holding out for hope in ukraine right now. hoping that things reach a peaceful and diplomatic end. >> now we are talking to family members to check if they have american passports or european passports that they can leave if
they want to. if they have go bags. if they have all the contact information. we assume that cell phone communication will go down. that's happened before during the initial war. if people have satellite phones even better, but we want to make sure our friends are safe in ukraine and do what we can here. most part, a local ukrainian coming to church and multiple prayer sessions for ukraine. >> reporter: and i have to tell you. when you actually speak to ukrainian americans here it's an eye-opening experience. another dose of reality they are taking real steps preparing for a very real possibility of having to evacuate many of their friends and loved ones possibly here to the united states, if they can. that includes taking steps like these organizations we heard from today speaking to the u.s. department of state making sure that those ukrainian wos have the ability to actually enter the u.s., if needed. finally, really, just one of the many shows of support you see throughout the country. in fact, in washington, d.c.
where you are, phil, seen large crowds gathering peacefully in the nation's capital in support of ukraine as well and something we're not just seeing in the nation's capital but really throughout the country as that threat of a russian invasion continues to grow louder and louder. >> often feels likes a geopolitical chess match. great reporting, very real people with very real implications. from new york, thanks very much. still to come a federal judge laying out how former president trump could be held accountable for inciting the capitol riot. what does that mean? the january 6th investigation, a member of the select committee looking into the insurrection joins me coming up next. you're live in the "cnn newsroom." they repeplaced the glass and recalibrated my safety system. that's service i c can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ i like that my plan is built just for me. with the new ww personalpoints program,
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former president liable for the capitol attack can proceed. the argument hinges on trump's speech from the ellipse preceding the riot. the judge says "can reasonably be viewed as a call for collective action and amount to the essence of a civil cons conspiracy." bringing in democratic zoe lofgren of california. i fully understand this is not what you guys are -- not involved in the courts, not a judge here, but one of the questions, how closely are you watching as some of these parallel legal tracks play out and you see comments from defendants who might be directly pointing the finger at the former president? how does that play into the committee's work? >> well, we pay attention to everything, obviously. you're right. this is a, civil lawsuit, we're not involved in that, however, i do expect that there will be discovery in that lawsuit, that discovery could be of value to the january 6th select committee
as we pursue our legislative investigation. >> from where you're sitting especially given all the interviews and documents so many we've not seen or heard about to this point sddoes it go beyond e rhetoric of the president? schemes to overturn the election. is that your view of things? wnk >> we can't get into that at this point. the investigation is still ongoing but let me say i think it was a very wide plot to over three the election and it didn't begin on january 6th. that's for sure. >> i want to talk a little about some of the legal fights that your committee is wrapped up in. some 20 people whose phone records you're seeking, fighting it in court including pro-trump lawyer sidney powell. a lot of alarm bell, government trying to pry away phone
records. why do you feel these are necessary and why is this not over reach in terms of the committee's jurisdiction? >> well we have to find out everything about the events leading up to january 6th, and this lawyer was a key figure in the plot, and we've received information, testimony, about her activities, but we also -- the phone records are not the content. it's just what number was called and how long did that call take. so it's not the content, but it does help us identify the web of the conspiracy and that's why we would like to get these records. you know, her answer was that we did not have a legislative purpose as a committee. numerous courts have already ruled on that, and ruled that that is just false. we are a legislative committee, properly constituted, doing the work that has been assigned to us. >> one thing i want to ask
about. ro rocketing around d.c. in the last hours stunning play-by-play actions of vice president. ahead of january 6th. might not be paying attention in the beltway. presence's lawyer contacted a retired federal judge to help the former president debunk john eastman's claim the vice president could reflect the election results nap was eastman's former boss michael lew ludig. pence calls him to thank him. my first question, has the committee reached out to michael luttig? >> we're not getting into that. the former vice president said publicly there was no constitutional basis for what the former president was
insisting that he do. i think the former vice president has publicly indicated he did get the advice of former vice president dan quayle, who he knew obviously, they're both from indiana, and that -- so there's no basis for this. there's no discretion on the part of the vice president. he just opens the envelopes and then the tellers, i was one of them, read them aloud. i saw the newspaper article. obviously, this judge is known to be very, very conservative, and i imagine for conservatives, when this very conservative judge said, there's no basis for this. it's just unconstitutional, it probably had a meaningful impact on people of a conservative bent. >> yeah. no question about it. cited in the letter.
congressman zoe lofgren, that's for your time. >> you bet. coming up next, the 2022 olympicing are officially in the history books. as usual, witnessing exhilaration from athletes and agony from those who fell short. these games may best be remembered for scandal and controv controversy. tell you a about that coming up. you're live in the "cnn newsroroom." ♪ “all i do is win” by dj khaled ♪ ♪ everybody's hands go up! ♪ karaoke singer: and they stay there. and they stay ther up, down, up, down. never lose confidence in how you run your busiss. tuit is bringing quickbooks and mailchimp together to help you set up and grow. tuit is brdj khaled:ckbooks man, i love this scent. ♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music)
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controversy. especially the doping scandal surrounding the 15-year-old russian figure skater kamila valiyeva who tested positive for a banned substance. "usa today" sports columnist and sports analyst christine brennan noted ottawa high school green bear noted by myself, joins me. look, when the story broke i started chuckling because i knew you were probably behind breaking of it and would have another busy couple of weeks at the olympics, but medals for the team skating event still in question. the investigation continues. how does this scandal reflect how seriously the olympics actually takes doping? >> phil, great to be with you and go green bears indeed. the problem, russia, you know, doing state-sponsored doping since the sochi olympics eight years ago and the international olympic committee just kicked the can down the road and have not fully punished the russians for cheating.
not just an athlete or two like lance armstrong in the united states. it is like the state-sponsored doping and hundreds of athletes. it blew up here. almost predictable there would be a moment where this would all come back and turn on the olympic committee and on the olympics. this is a very sad story. can you have sympathy for kamila valiyeva, the 15-year-old, and also wish that she were not doping and wish she had not competed. it all came crashing down on her with her terrible performance in the long program and fourth-place finish. hopefully this is the big one, phil. the one that gets everyone's attention saying enough is enough. it is time to really do something about doping and what would that be? kick the russians out of paris in 2024 and milan in 2026. and i think we need to hear from sponsors the olympic movement if we're serious getting this done and having clean sport. >> is this really possible?
>> i covered this a long time. phil, i'll be surprised if i see it. i do think sponsors are key. we saw it with the washington sponsors. took nike and sponsors to say the name has to change. people who write the checks. we'll see how that goes. >> you wrote at the kind of kicker of your column, very good column today, kind of wrapping everybody up. said this olympics nothing quite right. everything seemed a business off. one big cautionary tale. heard that from u.s. athletes too, includings those who won medals about kind of no one feels really that great coming out. great for performances but not the experience itself. how does this reflect on china? obviously on the world stage facing human rights allegations, genocide, all sorts of things surrounding them at this moment in time, a diplomatic boycott. how does this frame china in this moment? >> phil, the chinese are
thrilled. paired figure skaters won one of the last gold medals's they're happy and around the world and the way we look at china from that world view, i think a terrible olympic experience overall. of course, people enjoyed watching the sports, but the fact this was a walled off fortress because of covid. the wonderful scenes people in the streets, big tv screens, there could be none of that and that was covid and also the human rights issue never went away. peng shuai and these games will be forever linked with controversy not only with russian doping also the human rights abuses and history will judge it that way, and i think not in a good way. >> so i do have to ask. on a positive note, been to more olympics than i can count on two hands, what was your favorite moment from these winter games? >> from the ports aspect, and
there were many. that's important to say. these athletes with their own super bowls, right? getting the chance for these moments. nathan chen finally winning his olympic gold medal receive dempgs redpre redemption four years ago at socgen. nailing it. did it in team competition. u.s. won the silver might turn to gold some day and winning that gold medal with a fantastic performance in the men's short and long program. he's going back to yale to finish his studies, whether he'll scene skating and competing is an open question but at 22 weyears old, nathan cn on top of the world. >> great story. honest, the first person i called when my collegiate baseball career fell short to figure how to become a journalist. picked up the phone every time
i've called then and since, pretty cool being on tv with you, pal. thanks so much for doing it. >> so proud of it, phil. take care. coming up next. the shocking brawl at the end of the michigan/wisconsin men's basketball game. hear what led to this moment when michigan head coach strikes the wisconsin assistant coach. that's coming up next on the that's coming up next on the "cnn newsroom." (woman) wow, that's something. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy y perks. [echoing] get a quote today. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ i'm finally gonna sell my car! she's finally gonna sell her car! 10th time's the charm. was the buyer respectful? was he nice? well, we haggled over price. t i'm finally gonna sell my car. she's finay gonna sell her car. he backed out. never deal with flakey buyers again vroom bought your car? yeah, they really came through.
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mayhem at the end of the michigan/wisconsin basketball game this afternoon. it appeared to start with an argument in the handshake line between the two head coaches. gentjuwan howard and the wiscon coach. trying to get howard to back away and you saw it. howard reaches out striking a badgers' assistant coach top of the head and face more mayhem as players and personnel start sho shoving punching. jeff goodman joins me. an ohio state alum and playing this straight at humanly possible. from a, someone passively watching the game, what happened? how did this end up transpiring? >> well, the big thing was juwan howard felt disrespected because wisconsin up 15 points with 15 seconds left call add time-out. going through the handshake line. to me one of the those things that probably needs to be
completely eliminated, especially in covid times ba it brings out things like that. juwan howard goes through the handshake line and tries to do a blow by. we call it that in basketball and the wisconsin coach was having nothing of it. stopped howard. they get into a little verbal exchange and that's when juwan points at the guard and an assistant coach from wisconsin come over and that's when things got physical. juwan howard throws, i don't think a -- he swings. whether it was a punch, a slap, whatever it was, phil, it really escalated, and ignited the situation. then it was mayhem, as you said. players, michigan freshman musa, he starts swinging, and then, again, all hell breaks loose. and it's going to be interesting to see what happens to juwan howard. remember, longtime nba player.
longtime nba assistant coach in his third year with michigan. the question is, what happens now? i spoke to one commissioner of a conference just now. just got off the phone with him and he said if it were him hit juwan howard with suspension the rest of the regular season and the big ten tournament. >> one of the things -- i follow big ten basketball close. juwan howard a member of the fab five team in the '90s. head coach in michigan since 2019. he can recruit, brings a lot of attention to the program. players love him or drawn to him especially in the beginning. this isn't the first time involved with an incident with another coach. fiery arguments. can you give a history of the idea of a difficult season? >> a time ago into it with another coach. juwan charging towards him, and it's unclear at exact words he
yelled at turgeon. they went at it. talked to other coaches within the league. that he say he's not the most well-liked, because juwan howard, they feel like, again, this is a guy who, you know, didn't come in like they did. he didn't come through the college coaching circles. he's different. he made 100-plus million dollars. i just did something last week, phil, about former nba players coaches in college. former -- like 50 of them. juwan howard fared as well as any of them. most have been disasters. look at patrick ewing now. penny hardaway is struggling. chris mullin failed. juwan howard has done a heck of a job in his, you know, two-plus seasons so far in college basketball at his alma mater at michigan. again, i do not think he'll get fired for this, but i think certainly talking to enough people, they feel as though he will get a suspension here, because, again, as head coach of a college program, you can't swing at another coach and
escalate the situation like he did. >> yeah. no question about that. jeff goodman, big fan. thanks for coming on. appreciate it. now, here's cnn alison kosik with this week's "before the bell" report. >> hi, phil. from the russia-ukraine crisis to rising inflation and fed rate hikes plenty of issues roiling markets. stocks under pressure as geopolitical concerns take center stage on wall street. analysts say investors should take the long view. >> we look back at all of these major geopolitical events that our country has had really since world war ii, what we found was somewhat surprising. you have about a 5% correction, and it takes about three, four weeks or so to kind of make up for the loss. we're not minimizing geopolitical events, what's going on between russia and ukraine. we are saying any near-term short-term volatility to actually probably be more of a buying opportunity. >> this week reports on consumer confidence as well as personal
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lyndon b. johnson entered the white house during a national crisis, yet, despite that, he used the office to enact historic nax of civil rights and social safety net. his accomplishments, however, are often overshadowed by escalation of one of america's most controversial and deadly wars. now the new cnn series "lbj: triumph and tragedy" once of the most consequential in history. here is a preview. >> this administration declares unconditional war on poverty in america. >> it's on the one hand incredibly bold to declare war on anything let alone poverty, which is a complicated, intractable kind of a problem that, quite importantly, social scientists in 1964, don't really understand all that well.
>> our chief weapons in a more pinpointed attack will be better school and better health and better homes and better training and better job opportunities. all of these increased opportunities must be open to americans of every color. as far as federal law will run we must abolish not some but all racial discrimination. >> joining us now is cnn presidential historian. tim, lbj had so many wins on the domestic policy trump but his mishandling of the videtnam war overshadowed everything he established. presidents don't get to choose the crises they end up facing. right now the current president, president biden, is dealing with a crisis in ukraine. my biggest question is how
likely is it that foreign policy ends up sucking out kind of all of the air in the room and the president needs to focus on or wants to focus on domestic issues primarily? >> phil, i think when you look at vietnam and you keep in mind the extent to which the american people turned against the war you see an example where a foreign policy decision can undermine a president's credibility at home. if the american people see the war that we are fighting as a war that was thrust upon us, they will rally around the president. if they see the war as a war of choice and the basis for that choice is unclear to them, as was the case after we learned there were no weapons of mass destruction in iraq, the american people pull away, and the war itself divides us. so i think it depends on the nature of the war. vietnam was a war many americans didn't understand. americans did not wish to fight. men and women did not want to lose their boys.
and so a war that lbj thought he had no choice but to fight turned out to undermine his presidency and undermine his successes on the domestic front. >> and, to be very clear, the u.s. has made it clear they're not sending troops into ukraine. i don't want to draw an apples to apples correlation. when lbj laid out his agenda, very different in terms of majorities on the capitol hill. did the white house err in setting ambitions so high when the president took office? >> yes, i believe that the white house oversold the possibility of transformative social legislation in 2021 and 2022. lbj took advantage of a unique moment in our history. only franklin delano roosevelt had a moment like that, and it didn't come the beginning of his first term. lbj had this opportunity to pull together a governing majority of
republicans as well as democrats. it's often forgotten that medicare and the voting rights act passed because of republican votes as much as democratic votes. 112 republicans in the house voted for the voting rights act. 60 republicans in the house voted for medicare. so the challenge for lbj was he had southern democrats who were not going to support him certainly on civil rights, but he could pull over republicans to make a governing majority. president biden, when he's differed with the progressive caucus, which has about 95 votes in speaker pelosi's caucus, he doesn't have the luxury of getting republicans to help him get over the line. so this is a big difference. the majorities are too narrow, unfortunately, for president biden to achieve the kind of transformational legislative change that lbj was able to
achieve. now keep in mind lbj played an important role but he also enjoyed a very different and much more positive political moment. >> there's no question about it. a 50/50 senate is one where you have 17 or 18 both margins. tim naftali, i appreciate it. >> thank you, phil. >> be sure to tune in "lbj: triumph and tragedy" with back-to-back episodes tonight only on cnn. thank you for joining me this weekend. jim acosta will be back next saturday. pamela brown takes over the "cnn newsroom" live after a quick break. have a good weekend. be sanitize. wait, what? adding lysol laundry sanitizer kills 99.9% of bacteria detergent alone, can't't.
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tonight on the brink of war russia's heavily concentrated forces within striking distance of ukraine. >> you could see a significant amount of combat power move very quickly to take kyiv. >> but officials insist diplomacy is still viable. >> until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can dissuade president putin. >> we're talking about the potential for war in europe.
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