tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 23, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
president trump decided to enjoy his holiday weekend by playing a round of golf at his private course in virginia earlier today, and he did so as the u.s. closes in on 100,000 coronavirus related deaths. as the country approaches that grim milestone "the new york times" reports that the president and members of his administration have begun questioning the official death toll suggesting that the numbers are inflated. that comes as a new study from columbia university reveals that the official count would actually be lower if the president had acted sooner. according to that study 36,000 american lives could have been saved if social distancing measures were put into place a week earlier back in march. the president is taking issue with that math as well. >> columbia's a liberal disgraceful institution. i saw that report. it's a disgrace that columbia university would play right to their little group of people to tell them what to do. >> a disgraceful liberal
institution, columbia university. trump's distrust of medical advice is also getting dangerous. earlier this week he reveal he's taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and then gave a study of 96,000 hospitalized cboe patients on six connents release which found those who received hydroxychloroquine had a significantly higher amount of death than those who did not. joining me now a global health policy expert. a medical director of special pathogens at boston medical center and professor of medicine and infectious diseases at boston university school of medicine. both are msnbc medical contributors. welcome to both of you. dr. gupta, let me start with you. this is not the first time that we have had reports that either hydroxychloroquine is not ideal for this purpose, but it may not be ideal for people who don't actually need that drug for what it was intended for, and yet the president continues to tout
this. it remains unclear to me why he's doing it, but there now seems to be ample evidence this was not good medical advice from the president. >> thanks for having me. you know, how many different ways do we have to skin the same cat here? this is now the largest such study and pretty unequivocally makes our lives easy because its a known response here. pretty clear those who got hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death. for all your viewers hydroxychloroquine with or without an antibiotic high risk of death versus if you didn't take anything if you were covid positive. that's the same thing tat that the veterans affairs study showed a month ago. we're rehashing old ground here. the president wants to talk about this because he daunt want to talk about the columbia
study. he's allowing s us to not talk about the right things which is infection control top of mind. where was he two weeks earlier when it comes to social distancing from the columbia study? >> his reference to the columbia study is kind of remarkable, calling it a liberal institutions or one of the major universities in the united states. but here's the thing, columbia says that we could have had fewer deaths. there are a lot of health policy experts saying the way we measured this might be higher and you've got the white house saying they're actually lower than they are. you bring up another interesting thing to think about that and that is the issue of the number of people who die of covid-19 versus people who die with covid-19. and if you include the latter group the numbers tend to be higher. can you explain what you mean?
>> ali, i think there are a couple of reasons why the white house says they think the number might be delayed which i think most experts agree we're actually undercounting not only the direct deaths from coronavirus but also the secondary health impact. what do i mean? if you have heart disease and you get coronavirus and you go to the hospital and the disease itself, the infection overwhelms your body and you end up having a heart attack have you died of a heart attack or is your cause of death coronavirus? that's one of the things the white house has sort of argued with. i think most people would say the cause of death is coronavirus because that is what overwhelmed your body. the other question is that of excess death. 64,000 people were thought to be dead, above the predicted level of people who should die at the same time every year, like last year. of those 16,000 can't be accounted for by coronavirus. we think that part of those deaths are people who actually were never diagnosed with coronavirus and died before they
could be confirmed as a coronavirus death. and the other which is the secondary impact is these might be actually people who didn't seek care for heart attacks, for other medical problems and end up dying because of that. if we really want to look at the impact of this pandemic let's stop worrying about not getting the accurate number but let's look at the bigger picture the impact of this pandemic is having. >> and this is really interesting point because we're generally pretty steady with the number of people who in a given month or year, so we can actually determine when that number is higher even though we can't account for all those death and you and i have been discussing the fact there weren't enough tests available for the longest time, which meant there were people dying. we couldn't positively diagnose them as dying from coronavirus,
but they died during coronavirus when tests weren't available at a higher rate than people who normally died. >> that's right, ali. and what we're seeing, signs out of europe, out of france, they're coming back now. they're looking at biobanks of patients that died from shortness of breath, fever and cough. the symptoms that we screened for covid 1 in the early days. and now they're finding maybe signs that covid-19 was actually present in november and december of 2019. i'm trying to think back. did they actually have covid-19, so the question here is yes of course we're undercounting. people are dying at home because they aren't seeking care, because they're scared of coming to the emergency room. do we even have day zero right in the united states? way back in the early days that's a big question as well. but absurdly overcounted. it's definitely not undercounted. >> when it comes to the an
infectious disease something the rest of us lay people don't really understand as well as experts like you do this is not exponential. it's not one-to-one. it's one to several. these little measures about whether you did the right thing a week earlier or week later make much of a difference. there are people who say what's the big deal, we are still figuring it out, but in public health and infectious diseases a week can be a big thing. >> that's right. that's the exponential growth of pandemics. anytime one person can infect another or two, you then have that person infect another which becomes 8 and 16. we're looking at that count, but let me reframe that to now. the reason we lock down we have gotten to a point we had no idea the number of people infected and no contact tracing, we had no way to breach chains of
transmission. we don't want to get to a position now with reopening we let the system be overwhelmed again to the point we can't use contact traitsing, testing and isolating as the strategy of which we control. at that point we need to be nimble enough and humble enough to recognize they reclose and we can't predict that, right? . that's why our initial response needs to be thought out and if we get overwhelmed we need to be ready to lock down again. >> this is important because this could flare up again and most experts say something else could flare up again. so we want to learn lessons how to deal with this in the future. thanks to both of you. dr. vin gupta a health expert at the university of washington center. coming up the senate has confirmed one of the president's fiercest defenders to lead the intelligence community, members of the house intel community jim
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all right, some things seem to be getting overlooked amid the avalanche of coronavirus news and among them is a divided senate confirming congressman john radcliffe as the new director of national intelligence this week. trump first nominated radcliffe for the job nearly ten months ago as the congressman gave a rousing performance in favor 0e6 of the president during special counsel robert mueller's testimony. >> can you give me an example the justice department a person was exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? >> i cannot but this is unique. >> you can't. time is short. i've got 5 minutes. let's just leave it at you can't find it because i'll tell you why, it doesn't exist. >> here's the thing, radcliffe quickly withdrew his nomination after lawmakers on both sides of
the aisle questioned whether he had the experience for the job and whether he had padded his résume. all right, fast forward to this february. trump gave radcliffe a second chance nominating him yet again for the position after he served part of his impeachment -- as part of his defense team during impeachment. joining me now is congressman jim himes of connecticut who sits on the intelligence committee and knows john ratcliffe. what's the fundamental issue with john ratcliffe as the director of national intelligence? >> i think there's two issues. john's my friend and i'd like to give my colleague the benefit of the doubt. number one is this is not a job you get unless the president is confident that you will serve his personal interests. by the way, that's the job of any -- that is the deal with anybody who's appointed by donald trump. and i think john ratcliffe is a smart enough guy to know if he
cross the president, if he puts out a statement the president disagrees with his job is in jeopardy. that is an awful lot of pressure and by the way an incentive inconsistent with the interests of the country. so that's a real concern. the other concern i have about john this is not a shot at john but the intelligence community is one of the most complicated organisms there is out there. it's an $80 billion a year operation that does incredibly challenging and in some cases sort of constitutionally tense things. i've been doing oversight at the intelligence community now coming on 6 or 7 years. and john, as intelligent as he is he's brand new to this. and it's going to be very difficult for him to run and oversee an agency that is as complicated as this one. >> so here's the issue. there are lots of government appointees, lots of people the president picks to be heads of important departments and sometimes they've got more or less expertise at it.
but national intelligence, this was an organization that was fofrm formed -- the dni, this one has to rise above partisanship. this one has to be about an experience in expertise more than some other positions in government. >> yeah, that's absolutely right. and again, i don't think there are a lot of jobs to do as hard to do successfully in government as this one. it is a new position. it doesn't actually have a lot of direct budget authority. at the end of the day the cia's budget, the ns aa's budget gets developed. if you look back into the last budget dni's and ambassador grenell illustrated perfectly how not to do this job, how to politicize it, how to declassify documents that had no business being declassified except it
served the president's interest to do so. if you look back behind rick grenell you see people who spent their entire careers in some combination in the military, the cia, the nsa and really grew up in those organizations. again, it's not a hit on john to say he is going to be facing pressures i don't envy because he may not admit this in public but any senior person in the trump administration knows what they are there for. they are not there to serve the american people. they are there to serve the personal interests of donald trump. when we're talking about the intelligence community, an organization that must provide unvarnished truth if this country is to make the right decisions, that is just a huge challenge. >> we've seen the president get rid of four igs at various departments, right, and that's kind of igs, jobs. they're the people equivalent of compliance officers on wall street or ininternternal affair
police. the dni has got to be able to give an unpoliticized unvarnished accurate view to the president for decisions that are about the safety of all americans. this is not the commerce department. >> yeah, that's absolutely right. and, look, if this coronavirus crisis has caused us to understand one thing i think lot of us understood beforehand is that donald trump has no interest, none, not a shred of interest beyond his own immediate interests. watch how the president has handled everything about the coronavirus crisis. it's only good if it serves his interest. you know, taking chloroquine, telling us we would pack the churches on easter. and the problem with that is that the world doesn't subscribe or conform to donald trump's re-election prospects. you know, north korea. we had kim jong-un just in the last 24 hours talking about
nuclear deterrents. what does that mean? well, my guess is we have people inside the intelligence community who have a sense what that means. but if donald trump doesn't think it's in his interest to accept that view of reality he's not going to do it. what russia is doing, what china is doing, donald trump only sees what he wants to see, and that's a huge issue for a guy like john ratcliffe, or any director of national intelligence. >> three months ago donald trump didn't want accurate number ins testing because it would make it look bad if we had lots of coronavirus cases and now we have 100,000 people dead in america. that is not the way we want to conduct our intelligence agencies. thank you, congressman. democratic congressman from connecticut and member of the house intelligence committeemism. how is trump's handlingf the coronavirus going to reflect on republican senators running for re-election? we'll have a look at some of those tough races when we come back. some of those tough races when we come back
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republicans are sounding increasingly worried about maintaining their majority in the senate. republicanerize defending twice as many seats as their opposition while holding a narrow 53-47 in the senate. gop incumbents in many swing states are looking at hard battles as they struggle to disentangle their numbers from president trump's. be beth, when did the republican hold on the senate become more imperilled than it was? >> as you said initially it looked like republicans were probably going to be at least going into this election cycle looking fairly good. they are defending a lot more seats but of course as the incumbent majority they be a ton of money. mitch mcconnell it's his duty
and honor and main goal in life to protect that senate majority. ahead of the coronavirus crisis i would say democrats would have had an uphill battle. it's a 53-47 split right now so democrats would have to pick up a net of three seats to tie into the senate or a net four to take the majority. the expectation was doug jones who won that in alabama a couple of years ago would pluchz democrats are sort of counting him out initially so then they were having to find four other seats that could potentially flip over. moving ahead, moving to this moment we're seeing a big change on the national political landscape. president trump's numbers have been dropping because of his handling of the coronavirus crisis and lot of those republicans in swing states as you say are being affected by the president's numbers and are all also numbers of their own. >> let's talk about doug jones. right now you've got president
trump telling people in alabama don't vote for jeff sessions. and that's one in alabama where jeff sessions is substantially popular than donald trump is in alabama. does that hurt doug jones' chances that donald trump is campaigning against jeff sessions, or does it just help jeff sessions? >> just to remind our viewers so jeff sessions left his senate seat to become trump's attorney general early on in the president's term. he was of course the first senator to endorse president trump. then that special election took place and a democrat, doug jones, took jeff session's seat. he's held onto that for a couple of years. since that we know as much as tonight president trump is out there tweeting against jeff sessions. he's telling alabama voters to vote against jeff sessions in the runoff election going to take place in july where he's running against the former auburn football coach. he's been running ahead of jeff sessions in polling there and
obviously president trump is now throwing the full weight of his endorsement behind jeff session's opponent. and whoever wins in july is going to go up against doug jones who's raised a ton of money and is a force to be reckoned with in alabama. >> let's talk about arizona. senator martha mcsally running against a popular opponent and running behind him at the moment. >> yeah, so martha mcsally was appointed to the seat she now holds. it was john mccain's senate seat inasmuch he lost to keirsten cinema, the other senator now in arizona. she was appointed to the seat that became empty when john mccain passed away and she never really had a good grip on that seat. mark kelly, a former astronaut and popular figure in alabama decided he would challenge her as a democrat. he has been basically wiping the field with her at this point.
he's raised much more money than senator mcsally. t we're hearing from our reporting president trump is worrying she's going to bring him down in arizona rather than vice versa. now, that's pretty self-serving perhaps of the president. the president is going to define the national election environment this coming november. but there's no doubt arizona is becoming more and more purple, queuing towards blue. martha mcsally is in trouble there, and president trump is going to either go down with martha mcsally or help bring her up depending on how his conduct of this coronavirus crisis is looking down in arizona in november. >> for the last 3 1/2 years someone we've been focusing on is senator susan collins of maine. whenever there's big decision to be made all eyes are on her about which way she's going to go. she is an endangered senator. >> she is an endangered senator, much more so than she has been
in the past. she of course this sort of old school republican, sort of fashions herself as a moderate, as a consensus builder, as a compromiser. what democrats always complain about susan collins when push comes to shove she always vote with mitch mcconnell on things very, very important. things like that nomination of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. of course she voted for him and made a very dramatic floor speech about it. that basically was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back for a lot of people in maine who just felt like she is no longer that moderate force that she tries to represent herself being. she's also become sort of a national target for democrats. there's been a lot of grassroots money that's been pouring into maine to support the candidate expected to be the democrat to run against susan collins. the member of the maine legislator, sarah gideon. so she's actually outraised susan collins at this point. so there's no doubt susan
collins is in the fight of her life there. >> beth, always good to talk to you. thank you for joining me and bringing us to speed on this. coming up, president trump has issued guidance deeming places of worship essential during the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to override governors if their states don't follow the new recommendations. but what authority does the president have to implement those orders? we'll discuss next. ident have t those orders we'll discuss next i just love hitting the open road and telling people that liberty mutual customizes your insurance, so you only pay for what you need! [squawks] only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinic as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. it's not right. so i'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. the governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now. for this weekend. if they don't do it i will override the governors. >> that was the president yesterday ordering states to allow places of worship to open, deeming churches, synagogues and mosques essential services. here's the catch. it doesn't actually matter that he said that. the president has no authority to override governors decisions to keep houses of worship closed. either way, however, the restrictions on religious gatherings put into by states haven't been followed by everyone. pastors in both florida and louisiana have had run ins with it police for defying orders and
holding church services. on the opposite side of the spectrum the president of the association is asking congregations to plan for virtual operations until may of 2021. but if we take a step back none of the plans that religious leaders make really matter unless those who attend services are comfortable doing so. a recent online survey conducted by democracy fund found that fewer than half of americans who attend religious services before the pandemic would definitely or probably return to those places of worship even if public officials said it was safe to do so. joining me now jack jenkins, the author of a great new book called american profits, the religious roots of progressive politics and the ongoing fight for the soul of the country. jack, good to see you again today. talk to me about this because a lot of religious leaders have indicated on social media and interviews their flocks are actually thriving.
there are people who were not attending services who now attend because they're doing things virtually. there's a calling out for a sense of community amongst people who otherwise didn't think they needed that community, that they're realizing it. and there are others who are saying including the reverend dr. william barber the house is not essential to the practice of faith. so give me some context as to what's going on here with the president. >> it seems like there's been essentially two different strains of activism over the course of this pandemic. and one has been while there have been transgressions of social distancing across the religious spectrum those who milwaukee up a proportion of the president's base have taken it up as a cause to return to worship. that's why you've seen those arrests in florida and louisiana. on the other hand of spectrum progressive people of faith have been preaching a very different gospel. you've had jews, muslims and
christians calling for the release of prisoners who are detained right now or activists driving around the city of los angeles calling for rent forgiveness for people who can't afford their rent right now. the poor peoples campaign has their own initiative called stay in place, stay alive because they're opposing the reoeng of states and businesses and these kind of faith communities because they feel it will disproportionately impact people of color and low income communities. so you've seen these two different strains of activism during the course of the pandemic but the president only seems to be responding to one of them. >> and it's kind of funny because congregation which is important to people of faith are the places in different forms where this pandemic has taken root, right, whether it's funerals or weddings or church services or parts. these are super spreading events they call them because the
things you do in-houses of worship are very specifically things we cannot do right now. you touch, you hug, you sing which expels more virus if you got it. i don't understand how this became partisan for donald trump but you do have some research that indicates that there are segments of the society who look at this infection differently on what they should be doing. >> right. as you noted the majority of religious americans who attended worship before the pandemic aren't excited about running back into houses of worship even if authorities tell them they can. but there was one community in that same poll that actually reached about 63% of wanting to n enter these communities. these were many different churches and communities that again make up a disproportionate percentage of the president's base. this does seem to be an appeal
to those. even some of the president's stalwart supporters such as a pastor in texas aren't planning to open their churches this sunday for the reasons you alucidated, they aren't sure it's safe yet and they want to make sure there are things in place whether that's a vaccine or whether there are authorities who say it's safe at some level to conduct worship, which is really hard thing to do when just like you said worship is a space where you share, touch, where you hug and you sing. all things when you're doing those in confined spaces have proven time and time again to spread this coronavirus. >> jack, what could the explanation for that possibly be? why would white evangelical christians have a greater tendency to not want to follow public health advice in favor of congregation? i don't understand. is it coincidence or is it causal? >> well, i think there's a few different factors going into them. one of them is that there's been
among white evangelical prostitants, opros protestants, one a lock step of trump but two resistance of authority. some skepticism when it comes to government or governments in general which is why it's interesting when you hear trump essentially picking a fight with governors who have cracked down on worship services. but among this community there's a long history of fighting for quote-unquote religious liberty, of understanding any sort of governmental imposition on their worship is seen as an affront. this seems to be an issue recast as a liberty religious issue. while it doesn't necessarily represent the majority of americans those who really see this as a cause, some of the legal groups coming to the defense of those pastors arrested, for instance, like the religious counsel see this as a liberty infringement and
apparently that includes the religious freedom to be able to worship even at risk of infection. >> though that was the first time i've understood that clearly, jack, so i appreciate you joining me for this conversation. jack jenkens, a national reporter for the religious news services and author of the religious roots of progressive politics and the ongoing fight for the soul of america. coming up next understanding the economic shock of coronavirus as more states begin the process of reopening today, unemployment numbers continue to increase. we talk to an expert about flattening that curve. you're watching msnbc. expert abt flattening that curve. you're watching msnbc. sure. sometimes i wish i had legs like you. yeah, like a regular person. no. still half bike/half man, just the opposite. oh, so the legs on the bottom and motorcycle on the top? yeah. yeah, i could see that. for those who were born to ride, there's progressive.
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as all 50 states look to begin the process of reopening it's now a wait and see game to decide whether the economy or at least to see whether the economy is going to fully rebound. weekly jobless claims total $2.4 million for the weekending may 16th bringing the total of claims filed since late march to
38.6 million. and while the white house has been adamant that once the country starts to reopen the economy will get back on track new research this week from the university of chicago estimates that 42% of pandemic related layoffs could be permanent. joining me now the former chief economist and director of research at the international monetary fund and the author of several books including this time is different, 8 centuries of financial folly. you can probably give us a bit of perspective into this one. are we at some juncture, and we can discuss whether it's two years from now or five years from now or longer, will we return to normal, a country which gdp growth in line with the developed world and an unemployment rate in line with our historic norms. >> well, look, we've had eight
centuries of economic crises, this one too will pass and get better. come the fall, come the winter there could be a second wave. i think there's a lot of fear. it could be really many years before we get back to where we started. i don't know if unemployment is going to come back in the single digits. it will stay at double digits not just the end of this year but quite possibly past the end of yeks year. it's still a rough ride. >> okay, we may be into 2021 and the unemployment number is an abstract for most people. when you have this many people in the labor force and we only have to think back to 2009 and the number of years it took to absorb all that extra capacity, all these extra workers in there. and until we did wages didn't start to go back up. so are we going to now see a reset of wages at a lower level that will then take 3, 4, 5
years to get back to normal? >> i don't know about that. i mean, some of this just comes from the outside and as there's a vaccine, as there are anti-virals that make people feel a little safer we can come back faster, but we've dropped a lot more. the drop we've had in this just swamps what happened in 2008, so we need to come back a lot more. you know, again the safer people feel the more there's testing and all of that there's going to be a lot of businesses that go under. there will be new ones that start but hopefully it won't be a lot more than last time but i'm not sure it'll be any less. >> you talk about new ones that start. this always happens. lr a number of big companies out there today that actually started in the last recession not having to do with the last recession, but there are always things growing and these companies become of value and
they make people wealthy and employ people. what should government be doing right now? what should public policy look like and i say now and over the next year to encourage that innovation and that growth that is sort of native to americans that has taken a big hit. >> you go have to support ordinary people, i think there needs to be a support for state and local governments, there needs to be a lot done for the health sector. certainly testing, you know, helping the hospitals, helping the front line workers. at the same time, you want to be careful to not provide incentives to freeze everything in place, i think a lot of workers will eventually come back to their firms. the government has to not stand in the way of that -- not stand in the way of regrouping. we're just a couple months, two, three months into this, and there's still -- we're still very much in the center of this.
it's great that some states are reopening. it's great that we're in the summer. but really, until there's a vaccine. and even then, we really need to provide a lot of support to people, and yet it's going to be a different economy at the end of this, things are going to be different, i think everybody sees that, you don't want to get in the way of that. >> i don't normally talk to you about markets, this is not your -- the area you spent the most of your time in. people are wondering how it is, the s&p 500 is only down now 8 1/2% for a year, this is after a disastrous market. why do you think markets have come back as fast, when people remain unemployed. is there any logical explanation why markets are behaving like we're well past the most serious
part of this? >> i think i've -- i finally stunned ken -- we'll get ken rogoff back if we can. i just want to finish the point i was making, though, for those of you who are invested in the markets, this is an important point, down 8 1/2% for the year. for people that were looking at 30% plus drops earlier in the year, 8 1/2% is not as bad. a lot of people follow the dow. the dow is down a lot more than the s&p 500 is. ken, do you have any logical or
sentimental explanation for why the markets have staged such a comeback when the economy hasn't? >> memories from 2008 are very much alive, where the market didn't just come back it came back even more. nobody wants to miss it. i think the markets are thrilled the fed is buying the junk bonds and doing a lot to save the markets. i think we should be worried about a second wave. they say anti-virals and are more optimistic. trillions of dollars in the markets, i'm skeptical. i don't think it's going to be that smooth. >> we gave the airlines a grant to keep their people on payroll as much as possible.
we've got the paycheck protection program. emergency measures that will come to an end over the next few months. they're paying people salaries or a proportion of people salaries to stay employed, so they don't get on unemployment roles? >> we want to be careful to pay everyone to stay at their same job as opposed to giving them income support. yes, there's going to be a continuation. i know ollie, something we talked about for 10 years is infrastructure investment. it's not going to come on line for two or three years, we're going to need it in two or three years. giving people broader internet access, dealing with future
cyber security. there are things we need to do. we're just again, the summer's going to be great don't think this is nearly over, we're going to have double-digit employment. some of it long term. the states have to be supported. we're still in early days of this unfortunately. is it a free lunch? no, it is not a free lunch. compared to what's going on right now. this is this, this is the big ka hoon in a, we have to try to do all we can. >> if there are times when the government needs to go into debt and spend, this is the best description of those times, the one advantage is, the interest rates are low. ken, good to see you this morning. he's the former chief economist and director of research at the
international monetary fund. that does it for me this hour, thank you for watching, you can catch me back here tomorrow morning from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern. i'll be joined by kevin hassett and the mayor of baltimore bernard young ahead of president trump's trip to that city on memorial day. my colleague joshua johnson picks up coverage after this quick break. (vo) what does it mean to be america's most reliable network? it means helping those who serve stay connected to their families.
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