The Smoking Gun: Trump, The Least Charitable Billionaire

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hushpuppy, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump could try to revoke Robert Mueller's security clearance next, top Democrat warns

    By Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner


    Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned on Wednesday that President Trump revoking former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance could set a precedent for taking similar action against special counsel Robert Mueller.

    "I worry whether this precedence will lead to the president trying to take away Mueller and his whole team's security clearances. This is clearly another effort to silence critics and not allow the Mueller investigation, and for that matter our Senate intelligence community investigation, to get to the bottom of this," Warner said, referring to his committee's Russia investigation as well as the federal inquiry.


    Warner decried Trump for calling Brennan's actions "erratic" and suggested that the commander in chief needs to "look in the mirror."

    While noting that Trump's actions reminded him of former President Richard Nixon's tactics to silence his enemies, Warner suggested the White House was attempting to distract from bad press coming from the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the bombshell accusations made by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

    "It appears that this is a White House that feels under siege because of his former campaign manager's trial and obviously some of the issues with his former staffer, Omarosa. This is an attempt to distract the American public from those items that this White House faces on a daily basis," Warner said.

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  2. The Wrong Guy Member


    Two 'Trump baby' blimps arrive in New Jersey town | TheHill


    Two "Trump baby" blimps have arrived in Bedminster, N.J., the city where Trump's National Golf Club resides, as activists reportedly look to use them to protest against the president. reported on Wednesday that the two blimps are part of a total of six that local activists, Didier Jiminez-Castro and Jim Girvan, plan to bring to the New Jersey town.

    The activists had started a GoFundMe page , intending to purchase a "Trump baby" blimp, similar to the one used during protests in the United Kingdom when the president made his first official visit earlier this year.

    The campaign had aimed to raise $4,500, but raised a total of $23,748 and allowing the organizers to put in an order for six balloons, which show Trump wearing diapers, reported.

    "We’re having a baby!" the site's crowdfunding campaign read. "The first 2 of 6 Baby Trump balloons have arrived!"

    Jiminez-Castro and Girvan told that the goal behind the blimps is to taunt Trump during his visits to his Bedminister golf course. Girvan said they plan to get one of the blimps off the ground at least once before the midterm elections.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Penn Jillette Confirms Trump's Wildly Racist Comments

    Penn Jillette, former contestant on Donald Trump's reality show The Apprentice, corroborates claims by Omarosa Manigault-Newman that Trump regularly used vile and racist language during the tapings of the show.

    In Conversation: Penn Jillette | Vulture

    Talking magic, truth, and Trump’s alleged Apprentice Tapes
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance

    The president ties the move to the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election

    By Peter Nicholas and Michael C. Bender, The Wall Street Journal


    President Trump drew a direct connection between the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and review the clearances of several other former officials.

    In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited Mr. Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation, which also is looking into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Russia has denied interfering.

    Mr. Brennan was director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Democratic administration of former President Obama and one of those who presented evidence to Mr. Trump shortly before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.

    “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”

    He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    Clapper: I don't plan to stop speaking about this administration | CNN

    Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reacts to President Trump revoking ex-CIA chief John Brennan's security clearance and being among a list of officials whose clearances are being reviewed.

    Hayden: This has everything to do with punishing us for criticizing Trump | CNN

    Michael Hayden, former director of of the CIA and the National Security Agency, responds to the White House’s announcement that it is revoking ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

    Former Acting CIA Director: Trump Is Attempting To 'Muzzle Free Speech' | MSNBC

    The CIA's former Acting CIA Director, John McLaughlin, says he looked at President Trump's 26-page executive directive to revoke a security clearance and none of its 13 listed reasons match up to what the White House said on John Brennan.
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  6. Trump's Obvious Attempt To Change The Subject

  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    These are the newspapers telling Trump that journalists are not the enemy | CNN

    About 350 newspapers in the United States had editorials Thursday decrying President Donald Trump's description of the media as the "enemy of the people."

    Here are some of the newspapers blasting Trump's anti-press rhetoric.
  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump accuses Boston Globe of 'collusion with other papers' amid coordinated pushback to his rhetoric | TheHill


    President Trump on Thursday accused the Boston Globe of "collusion with other papers" after the news outlet coordinated a nationwide effort to publish editorials pushing back against the president's attacks on the press.

    "The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!" Trump tweeted.

    The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018

    It's unclear what he was calling for newspapers to prove, and Trump misrepresented sale prices for the Globe. The newspaper was sold to The New York Times Company for $1.1 billion in 1993, and John Henry purchased it in 2013 for $70 million.

    In a subsequent tweet, the president said "there is nothing I would want more for our Country than true freedom of the press," before claiming that the media often pushes a political agenda or is "trying to hurt people."

    There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018

    Marjorie Pritchard, the deputy managing editor of the Globe who oversees the paper’s editorial page, first called on newspapers earlier this month to publish editorials pushing back against the president's rhetoric toward the media, which she dubbed a "dirty war."

    More than 300 news organizations pledged to join the effort, The Associated Press reported, with papers like the Globe, The New York Times, New York Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Jose Mercury News and Idaho Statesman publishing editorials on Thursday to condemn the president.

    “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries," the Globe wrote in its editorial.

    "Insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the ‘enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period," The New York Times editorial board wrote.

    Earlier Thursday, Trump dismissed the press as "the opposition party," but said he's winning the media's fight against him.

    THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018

    Trump's use of the term "opposition party" echoes a label for the media frequently deployed by his former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.

    Trump's suggestion that news organizations were colluding with each other seemed to echo a tweet from Ari Fleischer, who said on Wednesday morning that multiple newspapers printing the same editorial message amounted to collusion.

    The former press secretary for President George W. Bush suggested it was hypocritical for the media to coordinate such a campaign, considering the blowback Sinclair Broadcasting Group received for forcing stations to run specific segments and commentary.

    The MSM, which loves to criticize Sinclair media when Sinclair has its TV stations carry the same editorial message, collude to act like Sinclair - so long as the message is anti-Trump. Once again, the media doubles down on its own double standard.
    — Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) August 15, 2018

    Trump has had a fraught relationship with the media since he first declared his candidacy in 2015. He often derides negative coverage as "fake news" and more recently has taken to labeling reporters as the "enemy of the people."

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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Brennan hits back at Trump and calls denials of Russian collusion 'hogwash' | The Guardian


    John Brennan has called Donald Trump’s repeated denials that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election “hogwash” and accused the president of revoking his security clearance as part of a “desperate” attempt to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation.

    The war of words between the former CIA director and the president escalated on Thursday, as Brennan hit back after being stripped of his security clearance by the White House the previous day – an unprecedented presidential intervention that has prompted widespread criticism. A statement from Trump said he had taken the step due to Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior”.

    Brennan, who was CIA director from 2013 to 2017 during the Obama administration, has stepped up his criticism of Trump in recent months.

    Writing in an article for the New York Times published on Thursday, Brennan described the decision as “politically motivated” and “an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him”.

    “Mr Trump’s claims of no collusion [with Russia] are, in a word, hogwash,” he wrote.

    He added that that “it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference – from Mr Trump or anyone else – so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve”.

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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    Once again, Trump blows up his own lies | The Washington Post


    An intriguing pattern is developing: President Trump resolves to strike a blow against the Russia investigation. He enlists his people in developing a rationale for his pending action that disguises its real motive. He carries out the act. He releases a carefully vetted statement elaborating that fake rationale. He then blows up the fake rationale by forthrightly declaring in a freewheeling interview that the act was really about the Russia probe all along.

    The latest example of this: In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday night, Trump openly declared that his revocation of former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance was actually about the Russia investigation.

    The detailed statement that the White House released Wednesday to justify this act only referred obliquely to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, insisting Brennan had misrepresented the importance of the “Steele dossier” to the investigation. (This was the latest in a dishonest effort to spin that dossier as proof the probe is tainted. In fact, independent reporting confirmed its genesis was legitimately based on other information.) The statement’s reasons were that Brennan publicly criticized the administration — this was stated openly — but also, absurdly, that this fact helps our “adversaries” to “sow division.” The statement also argued that Brennan’s “erratic” behavior poses “risks” that disqualify him from holding clearance.

    The last two of those are straight up falsehoods. If anything, public criticism of Trump’s posture toward Russia makes it politically harder for him to do nothing about the next round of Russian efforts to “sow division” via more electoral sabotage. The “risk” from Brennan, then, is only a political risk to Trump, which isn’t disqualifying.

    Regardless, in his interview with the Journal, Trump blurted out what is really going on here:

    Mr. Trump cited Mr. Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation …

    “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”

    He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

    In saying this, Trump tied his revocation directly to his claim that Brennan was one of the people behind the investigation that ultimately became the Mueller probe. This is an explicit declaration that the revocation was driven by a desire to strike a blow against the investigation.

    Sound familiar? It should. It harkens back to Trump’s admission of the real reason he fired former FBI director James B. Comey. Trump originally floated as his fake rationale the memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, which criticized Comey’s unfairness to Hillary Clinton during the email investigation. This was absurd — Trump seized on Comey’s public July 2016 criticism of Clinton as ammunition against her — but then Trump admitted on national television that he had actually fired Comey over anger at the Russia investigation.

    Why Trump keeps blurting out his real motive

    Why does Trump keep admitting to his real motive in such cases? The best answer is that Trump sees nothing whatsoever wrong with trying to derail the investigation.

    Trump and the White House have repeatedly described his efforts to scuttle the investigation as “fighting back.” By all indications, Trump’s stated belief that his attorney general’s proper function is to defend him from the probe — and his rage at Jeff Sessions for failing to carry out that task — appear entirely heartfelt. He plainly believes it would be entirely within his rights to remove Mueller if he could get away with it, and he has only backed off his efforts to do this when faced with internal resistance. Trump has told us, over and over, that he views law enforcement as merely an instrument of his political will, and the totality of his behavior underscores that he simply doesn’t believe rules and laws should apply to him.

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  11. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    “Lock Her Up! Trump is Reportedly Telling Advisers He Wants Sessions to Jail … Omarosa”

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  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    Omarosa releases tape of Lara Trump offering her campaign job | TheHill


    Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Thursday shared a recording of a conversation in which President Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, offers her $15,000 a month to work on the president's campaign after she was fired from the administration.

    The recording, played on the air by MSNBC, reveals Lara Trump, an adviser for the president's campaign, discussing the flexible terms of a role for Manigault Newman. The conversation reportedly took place on Dec. 16, 2017, just days after Manigault Newman was fired from the White House.

    On the recording, Lara Trump mentions a New York Times story that suggests Manigault Newman could have more to say about her time in the White House following her departure.

    "They wrote about you. It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out," Trump says on the recording.

    "Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have... Everything, everybody positive, right?" she adds.

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    Full Interview: Omarosa releases tape of Lara Trump offering campaign job | MSNBC

    Erin Burnett details ‘absurd’ offer from Trump's family to Omarosa | CNN

    CNN's Erin Burnett breaks down Omarosa Manigault Newman's new tape that reveals Lara Trump offering Omarosa a $180,000 job paid for by "small donor dollars."
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  13. DeathHamster Member

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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    READ: Letter Omarosa's publisher sent to Trump campaign | CNN


    Omarosa Manigault Newman's publisher responded to President Donald Trump's campaign's "legal threats" over her tell-all book, saying Trump is fully able to use his "bully pulpit" to refute anything they take issue with -- but that the book will be published.

    Below is a copy of the letter from Manigault Newman's book publisher, Simon and Schuster, responding to Charles Harder, who is litigation counsel for the Trump campaign, obtained by CNN's Kaitlan Collins:

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  15. The Wrong Guy Member

    Architect of bin Laden raid issues stunning rebuke of Trump | CNN


    Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday, defending the former spy chief as "one of the finest public servants I have ever known."

    In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who led US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, not only called Brennan "a man of unparalleled integrity," but volunteered to have his own security clearance revoked in an act of solidarity.

    "Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don't know him," McRaven wrote.

    "Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency," he added.

    His comments come just one day after Trump announced his decision to revoke Brennan's security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president's authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics.

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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Another Day, Another Omarosa Tape | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Omarosa reveals another recording of her conversation with Lara Trump offering her money to keep quiet.

    Omarosa Says Trump Tried to Buy Her Silence: A Closer Look | Late Night with Seth Meyers

    Seth takes a closer look at the President's former confidante Omarosa Manigault Newman releasing another secret tape, as Trump's legal team threatened the special counsel in the Russia investigation.
  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes | TheHill


    Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman is reportedly believed to have scores of recordings from her time working for President Trump, leaving other aides concerned.

    The New York Times reported on Thursday that the former White House aide could have as many as 200 tapes that may contain information about the president and people close to him.

    The newspaper reported that a number of Trump administration aides have expressed concern that they too will make an appearance on Manigault Newman’s other tapes, as she continues to release bombshell recordings in promotion of her new tell-all book, “Unhinged.”

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Stormy Daniels drops out of 'Celebrity Big Brother' | TheHill


    Stormy Daniels won’t be making her reality TV debut on the British version of “Celebrity Big Brother” after all.

    The adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was poised to appear Thursday on “Big Brother,” but was not among the personalities featured on the show’s premiere.

    “When Stormy realized that the show’s producers were trying to produce a certain result, and she wasn’t going to be free to be herself as planned, she withdrew,” Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told NBC News.

    Avenatti denied a U.K. tabloid report that Clifford bailed on the TV show only after being denied a bigger paycheck for her appearance.

    Clifford, 39, is currently locked in a legal battle with President Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Clifford — who claims that Cohen gave her $130,000 as "hush money" in exchange for her silence about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump — is suing the president and Cohen for defamation.

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  19. The Wrong Guy Member

    The Manafort trial: Jury deliberations continue | CNN


    Trump calls the Manafort trial "very sad" — but he won't comment on a possible pardon

    "I think the whole Manafort trial is sad," Trump said. "I think it's a very sad day for our country. He worked for a me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person. I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."

    Live updates:

    Mueller submits more than 1,000 exhibits for second Manafort trial in September | Mic


    Robert Mueller has proposed “well over” 1,000 exhibits in the second trial for President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which gets underway in Washington, D.C. in September.

    That’s nearly three times the evidence prosecutors presented in Manafort’s first trial, which entered its second day of jury deliberations Friday.

    Manafort’s second trial, set to begin Sept. 17, is expected to focus on charges related to alleged money laundering, witness tampering and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. These counts are more directly related to the main thrust of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, along with potential obstruction of justice on the part of the president.

    Manafort spent years working on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine, but failed to disclose at least some of that work under FARA. He retroactively registered as a foreign agent in 2017, nearly a year after scrutiny of his work for Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian Party of Regions forced him to resign as Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016.

    Mueller indicted Manafort and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, in October. Gates cut a plea deal with the special counsel in February and testified against his former boss as the prosecution’s star witness in Manafort’s first trial, which has focused on his alleged financial and bank fraud.

    Prosecutors over the course of 10 days hammered Manafort over his “lies — lies on his tax returns and lies to bank after bank after bank.” They presented about 400 pieces of evidence and called more than two dozen witnesses to the stand.

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  20. Disambiguation Global Moderator

  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Donald Trump Is a Dangerous Demagogue. It’s Time for a Crusading Press to Fight Back.

    By James Risen, The Intercept


    Trump uses his Twitter account to maliciously attack individual reporters, and journalists covering Trump’s dark and fevered rallies are now being forced to hire security personnel to protect themselves from the crowds. Trump seeks to discredit the mainstream press at every turn, while granting preferential access to news organizations that traffic in right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories.

    He has pressured the Justice Department to launch a wide range of leak investigations of the press, and has politicized that process to such an extent that at least two of the first leak cases to be prosecuted by his administration have involved stories related to whether Russia has meddled in the American electoral system and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to help Trump win the 2016 election.

    Many in the American press today blanche at any comparisons between Trump and Hitler or other autocrats, and warn against overreacting to Trump. They also recoil at the notion that the press should go on a war-footing against Trump and eschew old-style journalistic crusades. They fear that such a confrontational approach will harm their credibility. Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, coined a phrase that succinctly captured this professional ethic — “We’re not at war, we’re at work.”

    To be sure, plenty of reporters are doing great work under enormous pressure. Many news organizations continue to engage in aggressive investigative reporting about Trump, and much of what we now know about Trump’s corruption and possible collusion with Moscow has come from the press. But while that investigative digging is underway, Trump’s daily efforts to denigrate and discredit the press continue unabated, and his subversive efforts to undermine the media have had an impact. A recent poll showed that nearly nine out of 10 Republicans disapprove of the way the media has covered Trump.

    The press often seems uncertain on how to respond. The White House press corps in particular seems determined to try to cover Trump as it has previous presidents, employing the same American journalistic standards and practices used in the past. Some press critics now believe that approach is too passive in the face of Trump’s malevolent approach.

    “When the most powerful person in the world declares war on journalism, you can respond in one of two ways,” writes Dan Gillmor, co-founder of News Co/Lab and professor of practice at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “The first adds up to surrender. I’m sorry to say that some of you appear to have done so, by normalizing what is grossly abnormal and letting your enemies take advantage of the craft of journalism’s inherent weaknesses.”

    It’s time to break with those civil traditions, other critics have added. “Journalists charged with covering him should suspend normal relations with the presidency of Donald Trump, which is the most significant threat to an informed public in the United States today,” argues Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

    Some counter that Trump is only following in the press-bashing pattern set by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who both also used leak investigations to target reporters. (Believe me, I know about that. Both Bush and Obama came after me in a leak investigation that lasted seven years.)

    But it is a mistake to see Trump as just another White House occupant following in a long tradition of presidential press-bashing. While the present-day U.S. is not Weimar Germany, Trump is not Hitler, and his incompetent administration has not come close to consolidating power in the way the Nazis did, Trump is nonetheless a dangerous demagogue who deploys some of the same tactics that Hitler did, and he has already gone further to attack the democratic institution of a free press than his predecessors did. He is seeking nothing less than the destruction of the legitimacy of the American press.

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  22. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    In other news
    A Trump confidant was on Fox News exclaiming the Mueller’s Investigation was invalid because the pee pee tape dossier (Fruit of the poisoned tree theory) and was shut down by the Fox host. He’d been taken off the air before because
    “Bossie had recently been taken off the air by Fox after he told a black Democrat that he was “out of his cotton-picking mind.”
  23. Not at all racist then?
    Jeezuz h Christ it gets worse by the day but how much worse is it possible to get before it all comes crashing down?
    I despair .
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Ivanka Trump’s luxurious Jewelry company owes more than $5,000 in unpaid taxes

    By Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News, February 21, 2017


    The presidential daughter's extravagant jewelry company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, apparently owes $5,165.06 in unpaid taxes, according to a warrant issued by the New York state department on Jan. 27.

    The company, which is formally registered as Madison Avenue Diamonds LLC, has an office listed in midtown Manhattan and hawks diamond studded bracelets, cuffs and bangles that cost upwards of $13,900 apiece.

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    DOJ Sues Ivanka’s Ex-Business Partner for Massive Fraud

    By Ben Schreckinger, POLITICO Magazine, August 17, 2018


    The Justice Department is suing a friend and former business partner of Ivanka Trump for his alleged role in schemes to defraud the federal government out of millions of dollars in tax liabilities on his father’s estate.

    Filed last month and reported here for the first time, the lawsuit follows an August 2017 POLITICO investigation of alleged financial wrongdoing by New York businessman Moshe Lax and glaring irregularities in the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of a $27 million lien on his father’s estate.

    The suit, which seeks more than $60 million in unpaid tax liabilities, was brought in the Southern District of New York by lawyers in the Justice Department’s tax division. It alleges that Lax, his sister Zlaty Schwartz, and his late father, Chaim Lax, engaged in a series of complex “sham transactions” designed to fraudulently evade tax liability. The government alleges the family members undertook 10 separate schemes “designed to hide the Lax family assets from the IRS and other creditors and make it appear as though the Estate was insolvent.”

    At a time when Democrats are working to make corruption a midterm campaign issue and a jury deliberates over whether to convict President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager for tax fraud, the suit threatens to further the perception that the Trump family and their closest associates operate in a corrupt milieu.

    Though the complaint does not mention the president's daughter or accuse her of wrongdoing, Madison Avenue Diamonds, the business that she helped run for years under the name Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, figures prominently in the government’s case.

    One of the 10 schemes outlined in the complaint is Lax’s alleged transfer of a roughly $21 million interest in Madison Avenue Diamonds from his father’s estate to a holding company for nothing in return.

    A lawyer for Schwartz, Megan Brackney of Kostelanetz & Fink, declined to comment. Lax did not respond to requests for comment and court records do not list an attorney for him. The White House referred requests for comment to a firm that handles PR for Trump’s brand. “The issues in this case have nothing to do with Ivanka or the Ivanka Trump brand,” said a spokesperson for the brand, who asked not to be identified by name. “These licensing arrangements were terminated by the Ivanka Trump brand in 2016, prior to Ivanka entering government service.”

    But the government alleges that Lax fraudulently transferred a portion of equity in Madison Avenue Diamonds at some point between 2008 and 2012. During that period, Trump remained involved with the business. At one point, Trump also had an ownership stake in Madison Avenue Diamonds, according to a deposition she gave in an unrelated case that was obtained by POLITICO last year.

    Madison Avenue Diamonds is not named as a party in the complaint, but the holding company to which Lax allegedly transferred part of the company is.

    In the complaint, the government names private creditors of Madison Avenue Diamonds as parties because they may have competing claims on the assets the government wants to seize.

    Although no Trump entities are named as parties, Trump Organization General Counsel Alan Garten told POLITICO last summer that the Trump family business was “still owed a significant amount of money” by Lax from the jewelry venture.

    It is not clear whether Lax has paid out on the debt since then. Neither Garten nor Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller responded to questions about whether Lax still owes money to Trump or any Trump family entities. The spokesperson for Trump’s brand said the brand would not be going after Lax or Madison Avenue Diamonds for any outstanding debt but did not address a question about whether any debt had been repaid.

    The suit alleges that Lax’s father began the schemes in the years before his death in 2008 so that his heirs could inherit his fortune without paying his unmet tax obligations. Lax and his sister are accused of continuing the schemes with a series of elaborate transactions meant to keep the assets from their father’s estate hidden from the government and other creditors.

    Lax, Trump’s partner in her first independent business venture, was once close to the Trump family. He introduced Trump to her future husband, Jared Kushner, at a gathering of real estate heirs he convened in New York a decade ago. Trump writes at length of meeting Lax and creating Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry with him in her 2010 memoir, “The Trump Card.”

    “My new associate was an entrepreneur through and through,” she wrote of Lax in her memoir. “I admired that about him.”

    Lax has also told at least one associate that he has discussed financial strategy with Trump’s father, Donald Trump.

    In November 2016, two days after he attended the Trump campaign’s invite-only election night victory celebration, Lax reportedly escorted one of his creditors past a throng of protesters outside of Trump Tower to a kiosk selling Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry in the building’s lobby. According to the creditor—who relayed the episode on the condition of anonymity because he said he feared retaliation from the Trump administration—Lax said he wanted to strike while Trump’s name was hot. Lax said he planned to take over a jewelry company in the suburb of White Plains, New York, and use it as a vehicle to turn Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry into a $500 million brand.

    When the creditor expressed disbelief that Lax, who was then already dealing with serious financial problems, was plotting a major business expansion, Lax said he would not need to use his own money and explained that he had learned how to go through an “expedited bankruptcy” process without losing his own assets. Lax asked the creditor rhetorically who he thought had taught him how to do that, and then he pointed up to the upper floors of Trump Tower, indicating the president-elect, who has filed for bankruptcy six times.

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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    AP source: It's not just audio, Manigault Newman has video | The Associated Press


    Omarosa Manigault Newman has a stash of video, emails, text messages and other documentation supporting the claims in her tell-all book about her time in the Trump White House, a person with direct knowledge of the records told The Associated Press Friday.

    Manigault Newman has made clear that she plans to continue selectively releasing the pieces of evidence if President Donald Trump and his associates continue to attack her credibility and challenge the claims in her book, “Unhinged.” She’s already dribbled out audio recordings of conversations, and video clips, texts or email could follow, according to the person who described what Manigault Newman has called a multimedia “treasure trove.” The person was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and asked for anonymity.

    Continued at's-not-just-audio,-Manigault-Newman-has-video
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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report | TheHill


    President Trump reportedly advocated for first lady Melania Trump to avoid creating an anti-bullying initiative.

    The New York times reported on Friday that President Trump suggested Melania choose a different topic after his wife formed a "Be Best" campaign that, in part, encourages good online behavior.

    According to the Times, Trump told his wife that she was opening herself up to questions and backlash given his tendency to bully on Twitter by leading an effort to stop online harassment.

    But Melania Trump rebuffed the president's warning and later said publicly that she was prepared to face any criticism her public service project might attract.

    The rollout of Melania Trump's "Be Best" campaign was met with intense scrutiny, facing allegations of plagiarism after it was discovered that a booklet published as part of the campaign copied a document first published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Obama administration.

    Continued at
  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Over 70 former intelligence officers denounce Trump's threat to revoke clearances | Axios

    In the 48 hours since President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, over 70 former intelligence officers and leaders have come forward denouncing the president's decision to revoke or threaten to take away security clearances from former government officials, including a list of 60 former CIA officers who signed a statement today, obtained by Axios.

    "All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so."
    — Statement From 60 Former CIA Officials

    Among the additional 60 CIA officers named are:
    • Jeremy Bash, former CIA and DoD chief of staff
    • Bob Flores, former CIA chief technology officer
    • Kent Harrington, former national intelligence officer for East Asia and CIA director of public affairs
    • George Little, former chief spokesman, CIA and DoD
    • Phillip Mudd, former CIA analyst
    • John Nixon, former CIA analyst
    • Greg Vogel, former CIA deputy director for operations
    Their statement goes on to explain, "Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them. What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views."

    The full list of former CIA officers:

    Continued at
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    'He's a loudmouth': Trump hits back at Brennan's 'drunk on power' assessment | The Guardian

    President and ex-CIA chief trade barbs as White House reportedly drawing up plans to strip credentials from others


    Donald Trump continued on Saturday to broadcast caustic criticism of former CIA director John Brennan, three days after stripping him of his security clearance.

    “Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA director?” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning. “He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!”

    Trump’s comments, certain to escalate tension between the White House and the intelligence community that already borders on open hostility, appeared to have been made in reaction to an interview Brennan gave MSNBC on Friday.

    Trump was “using a security clearance of a former CIA director as a pawn in his public relations strategy”, Brennan said, adding: “I think is just so reflective of somebody who, quite frankly, I don’t want to use this term maybe, but he’s drunk on power. He really is, and I think he’s abusing the powers of that office.”

    The president’s developing policy of using the withdrawal of security clearance as a sign of disapproval or punishment is causing alarm in the capital, according to the Washington Post.

    The newspaper reported that “some presidential aides” echoed the concerns among critics “that the threatened revocations smack of a Nixonian enemies list, with little or no substantive national security justification”.

    Continued at

    John Brennan: I Gave Trump A Year To Live Up To The Office. He Didn't. | Rachel Maddow, MSNBC


    John Brennan, former CIA director, talks with Rachel Maddow about his criticisms of Donald Trump and his early awareness of Russian efforts to intrude upon the 2016 presidential election.
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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    Monologue: Omarosa Week | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)


    Bill recaps the top stories of the week, including a new wave of reality show drama in the White House.

    Another Day, Another Omarosa Tape | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert


    Omarosa reveals another recording of her conversation with Lara Trump offering her money to keep quiet.
  30. DeathHamster Member

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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump compares Mueller probe to McCarthyism | CNN

    New York Times 'stands behind' its article after attacks by Trump | CNN

    Corey Stewart, Donald Trump’s Favorite Nut Job | Rolling Stone

    The Virginia Senate candidate is running a campaign built on race-baiting and falsehoods: He’s the president’s mini-me
  32. Tucker Carlson: Tacos Aren't Mexican Food!

  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    New York Times: Michael Cohen investigated for $20+ million in bank fraud | CNN


    Federal investigators examining whether President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen committed bank and tax fraud are looking at more than $20 million in loans obtained for his and his family's taxi companies, The New York Times reported Sunday night, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Authorities are also looking into whether Cohen broke campaign finance or other laws in coordinating hush money for women who alleged that they had affairs with Trump. The inquiry is at the end stage, and prosecutors are considering filing charges by the end of this month, two of the people told the newspaper.

    Federal prosecutors in New York who have been investigating Cohen have been mindful of the election cycle when weighing when to charge him, a person familiar with the matter told CNN; as a result, they have considered bringing charges either before September or waiting to do so until after the midterm elections.

    Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, declined to comment when contacted by CNN.

    According to the Times, investigators are trying to determine whether Cohen misrepresented the value of his assets to obtain the loans from two financial institutions that have catered to the taxi industry. They are also scrutinizing whether he failed to properly report his income from taxi medallions to the Internal Revenue Service, the Times reported.

    CNN previously reported that Cohen is under investigation for possible bank and tax fraud, that his taxi medallions are a focus of the investigation, and that one of the banks that made the loans was Sterling National Bank. The Times, citing financial records and people with knowledge of the matter, reported that the other financial institution is the Melrose Credit Union.

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  34. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trade | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver


    Donald Trump is waging a trade war that hurts a lot of American workers. Maybe he would understand that if our heavy-handed documentaries about the global trading system were more informative.
  35. “Admitting that he initially started to panic upon discovering that federal prosecutors were investigating him for charges of bank and tax fraud, Michael Cohen reportedly expressed relief Monday after remembering that it is illegal to charge a lawyer with a crime.”
    The Onion
  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    This is an absolutely critical moment for Donald Trump's presidency

    Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, August 20, 2018


    Donald Trump has been president for 577 days as of today. One year and seven months, to the day, of what can be described without exaggeration as the least predictable presidency in modern history. And yet, for all the wackiness and whip-sawing of these first 19 months, there's a very credible case to make that the next two-ish weeks are the most critical of Trump's presidency to date -- and will set a course for the remaining years of his presidency that will be very difficult to alter.


    1) The jury in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial on a series of alleged financial crimes entered its third day of deliberation on Monday. While the case focuses on Manafort's interactions with the Ukrainian government prior to his time at the head of Trump's campaign in 2016, it grew out of the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election being led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller. A Manafort conviction would provide momentum for the special counsel's office in advance of the release of Mueller's report on his investigation. (Much more on that below.) If Manafort gets off -- and, to be clear, he will still have to be tried in Washington, DC, on similar charges -- it will give Trump's "witch hunt" attacks more fuel. "See, I told you all along this was a hoax," Trump will tweet -- again and again.

    2) Federal prosecutors are reportedly prepping charges against former Trump personal attorney/fixer of problems Michael Cohen in connection with a series of allegedly fraudulent bank loans and potential campaign finance violations tied to payoffs he made to women alleging affairs with Trump in the final days of the 2016 of the presidential campaign. Cohen has signaled repeatedly over the last two months or so that he may be willing to turn on Trump in order to lessen any potential jail time he might face. "My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will," Cohen told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in early July. "I put family and country first." Then, earlier this month, sources familiar with Cohen's thinking told CNN that Cohen was willing to testify to Mueller that the President knew in advance about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign brass and several Russians. Trump has denied any knowledge of that meeting.

    3) We appear to be in the final stages of protracted negotiations between Trump's legal team and the special counsel's office about whether Trump will sit down with Mueller and answer questions. On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that Mueller's investigators "have taken 2-3 weeks to get back to us, so what I have to tell you is, look, I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury." The special counsel's office has been tight-lipped about, well, everything -- including whether or not Trump might sit down with Mueller's team. But given Giuliani's repeated assertions that the two sides are entering the latter stages of the negotiating process, it's hard to believe we won't have a decision in the relatively near future.

    That's three BIG shoes to drop -- each one of which could alter the others, as well as what follows.

    Consider if Manafort is found not guilty. The likelihood of Trump sitting down with Mueller almost certainly goes down because, well, Trump would likely be convinced the special counsel has nothing, so why potentially give him something? Yes, a Cohen plea deal would complicate Trump's calculus somewhat -- depending on what he knows Cohen knows -- but it's hard to imagine Trump would be anything other than emboldened by a Manafort not guilty verdict.

    Now, consider if Manafort is found guilty, Cohen is charged and cuts a plea agreement with the special counsel's office. Those twin decisions would ramp up the pressure hugely for Trump to talk to Mueller -- or run the risk of looking like he is hiding something if he doesn't. (Not to mention the fact that we now know that White House counsel Don McGahn gave nearly 30 hours of testimony to the special counsel team). If all of that combines with the onrushing 2018 election, which looks very much like a good year for Democrats, the political climate in Washington for Republicans will be beyond toxic right at the worst possible moment.

    The point here is this: We've been in a holding pattern for a very long time on all of this.
    • Mueller's investigation has been conducted -- on the special counsel's end -- in almost total silence for its more than year-long existence
    • Cohen's office, hotel and home were raided by the FBI in April, but there's been very little in terms of charges or timing since
    • Manafort was charged in February -- and we've been waiting ever since for a trial and a verdict.
    Into that relative void, Trump has poured tweets.

    He has tried to discredit Mueller and the team working on the investigation before they produce a single page of their report. "Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency," Trump tweeted on Monday. "Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone looking for trouble." He's sought to downplay Manafort's role in his campaign -- and even suggested the former campaign chairman was a victim of an overzealous "deep state." "He happens to be a very good person, and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort," said Trump on Friday. And on Cohen, Trump has abandoned his nice-guy routine, tweeting recently: "What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!"

    All of that is just noise, however. High-profile noise. (Noise the media can't ignore, but still just noise). What will likely happen in the next month or so will be actions. And those actions will have major (and minor) consequences all over Trump's presidency, political Washington and the country. Consequences that will last the length of Trump's presidency -- however long that ends up being.

  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    Ex-Fox News analyst Ralph Peters: Trump is a danger to the US | CNN


    Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former Fox News military analyst who left after accusing the network of "assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law," talks to CNN's Brian Stelter about his views on President Trump's impact on the country.

    Former Fox analyst Ralph Peters: Fox viewers have 'utterly skewed view of reality' | CNN

    Many people believe, as Ralph Peters does, that President Trump was a "gift to Fox," and "Fox in turn is a gift to Trump."


    The difference is that Peters worked at Fox News for years.

    Peters, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel, was a Fox military analyst until March, when he resigned and burned the proverbial bridge. In a letter to his colleagues, he accused Fox of "assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law."

    Peters' statements shocked the TV news industry at the time.

    On CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, he had more to say. "People that only listen to Fox have an utterly skewed view of reality," he said. He described the relationship between the president and his favored news network as a "closed loop," but that was hardly Peters' most strident critique of his former employer.

    "Fox isn't immoral, it's amoral," he said. Later in the interview, when Reliable Sources aired clips that show Fox News hosts defending Trump's decision to strip former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance, Peters was asked if he thought his colleagues at Fox are "proud of their performance."

    "The polite word is 'prostitutes,' so I'll just leave it at that," Peters fired back.

    Peters garnered attention on Sunday for his stunning denunciation of Trump.

    "Trump gives us something new to worry about virtually every day, but it's important not to lose sight of the overall picture," Peters said. "This is a distinctly un-American president who really doesn't seem to like America very much, certainly doesn't respect it. And he's a president who appears to be enthralled to a foreign power, a hostile foreign power."

    That foreign power is Russia. Peters, who was a Russia analyst earlier in his career, has previously said he believes that Vladimir Putin "has a grip on President Trump."

    On "Reliable Sources," he said he was speaking out because he believes Trump and his aides are a "real threat to our republic."

    "What we need is people who will speak honestly and say what they believe and not worry about who it offends," Peters said. "I'm just sick and tired of people hedging and hemming and hawing. This is a president of the United States who is a danger to the republic."

    Peters was harshly critical of former President Barack Obama during his tenure at Fox.

    He once called Obama a "total pussy" on the air -- and was suspended for two weeks.

    But his criticism of Trump is different. He said on Sunday that Trump "does not respect our system of government," does not understand it, and does not respect the Constitution.

    Peters resigned from Fox back in March. He wrote in a note to a handful of colleagues at the time saying he "long was proud" of his association with Fox, but now he's "ashamed," calling it a "propaganda machine" for the president.

    A Fox News spokeswoman said Sunday that the network's previous statement about Peters still applies: "Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion despite the fact that he's choosing to use it as a weapon in order to gain attention. We are extremely proud of our top-rated primetime hosts and all of our opinion programming."

    Peters, during Sunday's interview, said that he is not seeking attention or "the chance to be on television. It's because we all need to do our part. These are parlous times."

    He said he left Fox News because "as a former military officer who took an oath to the Constitution, I could not be part of a channel that to me was assaulting the Constitution, the constitutional order, the rule of law."

    He also said, "I don't want to be the go-to guy for Fox-bashing forever. But what Fox is doing is causing real harm to our country right now."

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  39. The Wrong Guy Member

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 9 hours ago
    Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency. Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone....

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 8 hours ago
    ....looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side - the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 8 hours ago
    Where’s the Collusion? They made up a phony crime called Collusion, and when there was no Collusion they say there was Obstruction (of a phony crime that never existed). If you FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt, they scream Obstruction!

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 6 hours ago
    I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit. It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 6 hours ago
    Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan. It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did! He is a political “hack.”

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 5 hours ago
    Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department? A total joke!

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 5 hours ago
    “Bruce Ohr is at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS which led to a multi-million dollar investigation into what apparently didn’t happen.” Darrell Issa, House Oversight. We can take out the word “apparently.” @FoxNews

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 3 hours ago
    It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China. We can, and must, END THIS NOW! The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!
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