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Exclusive: America is about to meet the one DOJ official willing to do Trump’s coup

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America is about to meet the one DOJ official willing to do Trump’s coup

#America #meet #DOJ #official #Trumps #coup

For a brief moment in early January 2021, it looked like Jeffrey Clark’s moment in the sun had arrived. He was poised to become a major player in Washington.

All he needed to do was successfully convince then-President Donald Trump to install him as acting attorney general, then demand that key swing states won by Joe Biden send a separate slate of pro-Trump electors to Congress, thus overturning Biden’s Electoral College win.

Up to that point, Clark was, in the eyes of true Washington insiders, a schnook, a comparative nobody.

It wasn’t that he was unaccomplished. Clark had a solid resume as a graduate of Harvard and Georgetown Law, and spent over a decade as a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. He had even been Senate-confirmed. In 2018, Trump nominated Clark to be assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. He was confirmed on a near party-line vote, with opposition due to the fact that Clark, who represented BP in his private practice, was a climate science skeptic. Clark was exactly the type of smart guy with a ceiling that makes up the upper-middle class of Washington policymakers.

But Washington law firms and Nationals Park box seats are jam-packed with unobtrusive Republicans who represent the fossil fuel industry. There are fewer who sought to actively overturn a democratic election and vied to be the hatchet man for an outgoing president determined to stay in power.

The latter part of Clark’s resume is why this particular former bureaucrat will get a different sort of moment in the glaring spotlight on Thursday, when those activities will be a focus of the select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Clark himself won’t be on the witness stand. He appeared before the committee in February, only when he was facing a possible contempt referral after refusing to answer questions at a prior deposition. In that February appearance, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination over 100 times.

Much of what we know about Clark’s actions comes from a deposition from his former colleague Richard Donoghue, who was also acting assistant attorney general. Clark first approached his boss, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, in late December 2020. Clark reached out to Rosen on December 28 for permission to get a briefing on whether China could control Dominion voting machines via smart thermostat and a draft letter for the Department of Justice to send to key Georgia officials asking them to block certification of the state’s election results. This letter was a model, which, if approved, could be sent to other key states won by Biden as well. Rosen rebuffed him.

However, Clark then went around Rosen, directly to Trump. The Justice Department official had been connected to the then-president by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), the head of the hard-right Freedom Caucus and one of Trump’s most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill.

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In a dramatic Oval Office meeting featuring Trump, Clark, and top lawyers from the Justice Department and the White House counsel’s office, Clark urged the president to give him his moment in the sun.

“History is calling. This is our opportunity. We can get this done,” Clark said, according to the deposition by Donoghue. Everyone else in the meeting is said to have pushed back against Clark’s attempt to take control of the DOJ. Donoghue, along with Steve Engel, another top DOJ official appointed by Trump, said they would resign if Trump replaced Clark with Rosen.

Donoghue, by his own account, went on to threaten the specter of mass resignations if Trump went through with his plot. “And we’re not the only ones. You should understand that your entire department leadership will resign. … You could have mass resignations amongst your US attorneys. And then it will trickle down from there; you could have resignations across the Department. And what happens if, within 48 hours, we have hundreds of resignations from your Justice Department because of your actions?”

This was echoed by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who, according to Donoghue, said at one point in the meeting, “Well, I’m not going to stand for this, I’m not going to be here if it happens either.”

Donoghue said he then denigrated Clark’s legal abilities, telling Trump, “Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the attorney general.” After Clark protested and insisted that he was up for the task, Donoghue says he essentially told him to go home and get his shine box.

“That’s right,” retorted Donoghue. “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”

Eventually, Trump blinked. Although he made complaints to Rosen and Donoghue like “You two haven’t done anything” and “Everyone says I should fire you,” he didn’t follow through on his plan to elevate Clark. He announced at the end of the meeting that he was going to let it go. Clark’s moment had passed.

Since leaving the Justice Department, Clark has joined a Trumpist think tank, the Center for Renewing America. However, while he is not likely to wield power anytime soon, he will be the center of attention in Thursday’s hearings. Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel will all testify about Trump’s efforts to weaponize the DOJ to overturn the 2020 election.

There are still questions about Clark’s involvement in the effort to overturn the election, like who else the environmental lawyer was working with as well as the nature of his ties to Perry, that remain unresolved.

As one select committee aide told reporters on Wednesday, “Jeffrey Clark is certainly an important figure when it comes to the pressure campaign against the Department of Justice.”

But despite his best efforts, Clark is unlikely to be an important figure in history. Instead, it appears he will be a bit character who made one bumbling attempt toward relevance, and failed.

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Exclusive: The end of Roe is only the beginning for Republicans – TalkOfNews.com

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The end of Roe is only the beginning for Republicans

#Roe #beginning #Republicans

Republicans are celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as a win for the anti-abortion movement that was decades in the making.

After a draft version of the opinion was leaked to Politico in May, Republicans expressed optimism, but largely withheld expressions of triumph. They didn’t hold back on Friday, reveling in the immediate shift that began taking place after the decision, as red states invoked laws to further restrict abortion and as congressional Republicans began planning new anti-abortion policies.

“What an historic day this is and what a great victory for life. And it’s not just a victory for life. It’s a victory for millions of people who have been part of this pro-life movement for decades, who have gone to state legislatures, who have gotten involved in the political process, who prayed … The decades of work [are] celebrated today,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said during a press conference on Friday.

For most Republicans, the decision presented an opportunity to tout their party’s ability to deliver on long-running campaign promises as they head into the midterms. But for Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — who supported the confirmations of some of the conservative justices who joined the opinion based on the assumption that they wouldn’t overturn Roe — it was a moment of reckoning.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon,” Collins said in a statement.

Most Republican lawmakers didn’t share Collins’s frustrations, and have made clear that the end of Roe is a launching pad for the anti-abortion movement, not an endgame. For months, they’ve been outlining a longer-term goal of imposing new restrictions on abortion nationally if they retake control of Congress.

How far they actually go could be limited by public opinion: Gallup’s tracking poll has found 85 percent of voters think abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances. Former President Donald Trump reportedly predicted that the decision could ultimately hurt Republicans politically, especially among suburban women who helped propel him into office in 2016.

For now, however, those fears aren’t stopping red states and national Republicans.

Red states immediately started moving to further restrict abortion

At least 13 states have “trigger laws” that were designed to outlaw abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Some of them activated those laws in the immediate aftermath of the decision on Friday.

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Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s decision, Missouri’s Republican attorney general issued an opinion that “triggers” parts of a 2019 law to effectively end abortion in the state. That law bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy unless there is a critical medical reason, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. It also explicitly bans abortions for fetuses that might have Down syndrome and requires minors to notify their parents or guardians before getting an abortion in most cases.

Texas has yet to trigger its own law, though that will likely happen in about a month. But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Friday that prosecutors could start seeking criminal charges against abortion providers immediately based on old state abortion bans that were enacted before Roe and that were never repealed by the legislature. The few remaining abortion providers and funds in the state consequently announced that they would be shutting down for fear of legal repercussions.

“Although these statutes were unenforceable while Roe was on the books, they are still Texas law,” Paxton wrote. “Under these pre-Roe statutes, abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, also announced Friday that he had enlisted state lawmakers to craft legislation that would ban most abortions after 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for when the pregnant person’s life is endangered and in cases of rape and incest. He told the Washington Post that his preference would be a 15-week cutoff, but that 20 weeks might be a feasible compromise in the split state legislature.

“The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions. We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life,” he said in a statement.

Republicans are already calling for a nationwide abortion ban

Republicans have also started to build a foundation to further restrict abortion access in the US, especially if they retake control of Congress.

“Having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land,” former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Friday.

House Republican leaders — including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Study Committee chair Jim Banks, and Judiciary ranking member Jim Jordan — are already lining up to support legislation that would impose a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, CNN reported.

That ban could pass the House if Republicans recapture the majority in this year’s midterm elections, as they are widely expected to, but it probably wouldn’t win support from a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, even if the GOP regains control of the chamber. It is possible that Republicans could choose to eliminate the filibuster to pass the ban, but so long as a Democrat remains in the White House, they would veto any such legislation.

Republicans have also indicated that they plan to reintroduce the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” if they recapture the House majority. That bill would put in place requirements for the care of infants born after failed, late-term abortions and could send doctors to prison if they fail to comply. Reproductive rights and physician groups have previously opposed the legislation on the basis that it could criminalize doctors and is duplicative of existing laws that already support infants in these very rare cases.

And those plans appear to be only the beginning of their ambitions.

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“In the days and weeks following this decision, we must work to continue to reject extreme policies that seek to allow late-term abortions and taxpayer dollars to fund these elective procedures,” McCarthy said in a statement Friday. “As we celebrate today’s decision, we recognize the decades of advocacy from the pro-life movement and we acknowledge much work remains to protect the most vulnerable among us.”


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Exclusive: Midterms go to the party out of power, but as Roe decision shows, Democrats aren't actually in power – TalkOfNews.com

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains profanity.) Abortion-rights activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the Court announced a ruling in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization case on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health case overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case, removing a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

#Midterms #party #power #Roe #decision #shows #Democrats #aren039t #power

Meanwhile, this same Supreme Court makes it harder to vote, makes it easier to suppress the vote, and allows partisan gerrymandering that makes a mockery of equal representation. The Senate is so breathtakingly undemocratic that five of the six Republican-appointed justices were confirmed by Republican majorities having earned fewer votes and representing fewer people than the Democratic minority.

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There are ways to mitigate the inequities in our system: statehood for Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico if they want it, Supreme Court expansion and term limits, a federal ban on partisan gerrymandering, etc. But none of that will happen if historical trends maintain and Republicans take control of the House or Senate.

What’s worse: Holding our ground isn’t enough. We have to gain seats to break the Senate logjam and disempower Send. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. We also need the cushion, because the 2024 map is tough, and unless President Joe Biden can turn his approval ratings around, a Republican trifecta would be the end of whatever rights we have left. They wouldn’t even need a Supreme Court at that point. 

So yes, it’s hard to argue for voting as the solution, when voting has proved so impotent to this point. And therein lies something else I feel viscerally: the disempowerment of our supposed majority. In fact, it feels like we’re in the minority. Because functionally, we are. And I can sense that permeating through—not just from the politically engaged, but even among the kinds of people who only perk up around presidential election time. I’m even sensing it among the apolitical

It feels like November 2016, when Trump “defeated” Hillary Clinton despite receiving three million fewer votes. 

We all know what history says about midterm elections—the party that controls the White House usually gets walloped, particularly during a new president’s first term. There are several reasons for that, such as a president’s inability to deliver campaign promises through our broken Congress. But the biggest reason is quite simple—the minority motivates. The Tea Party movement emerged after Barack Obama’s election. The Resistance emerged after Donald Trump’s selection. QAnon hit the big time after Joe Biden won, fueling school board protests over masks and the “CRT” boogeyman. 

Meanwhile, those in the majority become complacent. “We won, mission accomplished!” That, along with dissatisfaction with the pace of accomplishments, led to a double-whammy situation where the opposition party is highly motivated and mobilized, the party in power is moribund. More often than not, a wave election sweeps the opposition to legislative power. 

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Who is in the minority today? 

Republicans, sure. Democrats control the presidency, House, and nominally, the Senate. 

But who is really in the minority today? We are.

Every liberal who cares about gun safety, about abortion, about core privacy rights, about keeping the conservative theocratic agenda out of our lives. We can’t even safeguard public health during a pandemic because of these conservative ideologues. We may not even be done this Supreme Court term, as the court may literally strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to protect our environment (in a decision that would gut the federal government’s agency power). 

Even if we gained Senate seats and got rid of the filibuster next year, would the Supreme Court allow D.C. statehood? Would they allow a genuine voting rights bill? Of course not! This is a renegade Court, literally inventing nonsensical rationales to push their unpopular agenda on all Americans. Somehow, the Second Amendment’s plaintext “well-regulated militia” has morphed, thanks to a supposed “originalist,” into a perverse blanket right for all gun fetishists to threaten society.

It viscerally feels like we’re in the minority because we are, in fact, in the minority.

Thus November puts us in uncharted territory. Yes, Joe Biden is unpopular. Yes, inflation and gas prices are high. Yes, history says the party out of power gains seats. But it’s the party out of power that is currently winning. The rules are being rewritten. 

Republicans have gotten big mileage out of their single-issue abortion and gun owners. Evangelicals may love Trump today, but they were originally unhappy with the amoral philanderer crook who ripped off his own charity and had sex with a porn star while his wife was at home with their baby. That didn’t stop them from voting for him, because abortion. Nothing else mattered. Meanwhile, liberals love to complain about all the ways a candidate fails us, and it costs us. 

But now, we may now be seeing the birth of the single-issue liberal voter. Kerry Eleveld wrote about an intriguing poll of the Pennsylvania governor and senate races. Respondents were asked their top priorities. 

PA SEN/PA GUV: TOP ISSUES FOR PENNSYLVANIA WOMEN
WOMEN MEN ALL VOTERS
ABORTION (SEN/GUV) 24%/16% 4%/3% 14%/10%
ECONOMY (SEN/GUV) 16%/24% 29%/28% 22%/26%
GUN CONTROL (SEN/GUV) 16%/18% 18%/15% 17%/16%

Women respondents were more apt to cite abortion as their top priority in the Senate race, clearly not yet understanding that abortion is explicitly on the ballot in their governor’s race as well. That’ll come, undoubtedly. 

Women then preferred the Democratic candidate in the Senate race by 23 points, and in the governor’s race by 16 points. In other words, the more abortion mattered to women, the stronger their support for the Democratic candidate, overriding concerns over the economy that would normally be front and center in a midterm election. 

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To be clear, this is a single data point, so we need more information, but it certainly supports my gut feeling that traditional dynamics have been upturned. Why else would Democrats be leading in Wisconsin as well? If Democrats are leading (if slightly) in two of the most evenly divided states in the union, that certainly suggests that we’re not in business-as-usual territory. And note, both those polls were conducted before this decision hit with the force of a neutron bomb. 

One more anecdotal data point is this dynamic: 

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My apolitical, hyper-religious, large Latino family group chat is on-fire angry about this decision. My partner reports the same, with women realizing that even their fertility treatments are at risk. You might be seeing the same on your social media feeds and group chats. Keep an eye on people you considered apolitical, or even Republican-leaning. If you’re seeing what I and others are seeing, chime in the comments. I’m really curious to learn, even anecdotally, what others are experiencing. 

In a perfect world, this outrageous conservative overreach galvanizes progressive (and even non-progressive) turnout on behalf of Democrats, who take advantage of the moment by campaigning heavily against the Supreme Court, promising reforms to restore balance and strengthen our democratic right to vote. 

Add votes on contraception, too, and that’s a real solid plan heading into November. 

Today, we saw Nancy Pelosi read some stupid poem, House Democrats sing “American the Beautiful” on the steps of Congress, and House Whip Jim Clyburn claim the decision to end Roe was “anti-climactic.” We need better leaders, and a better approach these next few months, to maximize our chances for victory. We need fire. 

But it may not matter in the end, just like Evangelicals voted for Trump. With abortion on the ballot, in every state, red or blue, we may see the kind of mobilization we’ve never seen before, especially in a mid-term election. It’s either that, or we start a countdown for the next cherished right on the chopping block. 


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Exclusive: Video Of Atlanta VA Clinic Employee Mercilessly Beating Vietnam Veteran Is Latest In Horrific VA Abuses – TalkOfNews.com

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Video Of Atlanta VA Clinic Employee Mercilessly Beating Vietnam Veteran Is Latest In Horrific VA Abuses

#Video #Atlanta #Clinic #Employee #Mercilessly #Beating #Vietnam #Veteran #Latest #Horrific #Abuses

Justin Gray of WSB-TV Atlanta released a disturbing video this week that shows an Atlanta VA clinic patient advocate pummeling a helpless Vietnam veteran.

The attacker, reported as Lawrence Gaillard, who appears to be still employed by the VA, is seen viciously beating 73-year-old Phillip Webb.

Mr. Webb was at the Fort McPherson VA clinic for some pre-surgical appointments. Unfortunately, his beating resulted in a brain bleed and a three-day stay at a nearby hospital. 

The disturbing video is below, if you have the stomach for it:

Mr. Gaillard was arrested for assault on April 28th and released on a $10,000 bond. He is suspended without pay and “only allowed on VA property for work-related purposes.”

This incident alone is enough to make your blood boil. Still, the sad truth is it isn’t an isolated incident of VA clinic mistreatment.

Putting Administrative Work Above Patient Care In Florida

An Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report shows emergency room staff at a Florida VA clinic violated policy by refusing to care for a veteran dying from heart failure in 2020.

The reason behind their denial? Their inability to confirm his veteran status. 

The delay in his care led to valuable time wasted. The 60-year-old veteran was transferred to another hospital and died ten hours later. 

Perhaps more disturbing is that the report goes on to say that the administrators of Malcom Randall VA center went with an “inadequate response” to the report’s findings. The original report recommended that the nurses involved be removed from emergency care. 

The administrators opted for written warnings. 

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Sky-High Inflation Crushing Veterans, Says Code of Vets Founder Gretchen Smith

Lack Of Urgency And Compassion In Nevada

Another leaked VA clinic video, this time from Nevada, shows an 88-year-old Marine Corps veteran collapsing in the lobby. The video is below; the lack of urgency and care is disturbing.

It took two minutes for a nurse to arrive and another five minutes for staff to begin CPR, poorly. Unfortunately, the veteran did not make it.

William Caron, head of the VA healthcare system in Southern Nevada, told the local news that he believed the care was “sufficient.” But, of course, that was before he knew about the leaked video.

After news of the leaked video made it out, only then did his office send a lengthy statement admitting some issues with the care. Again, it shows this clinic administrator’s transparency, which is about as transparent as a brick wall.

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Taxpayer Dollars Wasted On A Faulty Computer System 

It’s not just VA clinic employees causing harm to veterans. The computer systems that are employed even hurt veterans.

A report has revealed that a computer system utilized at a Spokane VA hospital caused varying levels of harm to 148 veterans. Doctors and nurses use the system to order labs, submit referrals for patients to see specialists, and various other administrative orders.

The report discovered that over 11,000 of these orders never made it to their intended destination, causing critical appointments, follow-ups, and other work to never be completed.

In one particular case, it was found that the system error directly contributed to a veteran’s heart failure. Due to medication information not updating appropriately, vital medicine was unknowingly inaccurately stopped, causing heart failure.

The system was developed by the Cerner Corporation, which was paid a staggering $16 billion for the electronic records system. Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough claimed this Spring that he was unaware of any life-threatening issues with the system.

However, a VA patient safety team had briefed his deputy secretary in October. So it seems there is a severe communications problem at the top of this organization.

RELATED: Air Force Members File Suit After Being Rejected Religious Exemption From COVID Vaccine

A Familiar Deadly Trend In A Familiar City

The OIG has investigated a Phoenix VA clinic over a veteran who had been seeking mental health care and who eventually committed suicide. The investigation revealed that the veteran had been passed off to numerous people over many months, inevitably never to receive the care he was seeking.

An attorney for the family, Richard Lyons, said of this particular incident:

“From the day he asked for help, in January of 2019, for the next five months, he talked to eight different people at different levels of the VA.”

If Phoenix, Arizona, and VA clinic issues sound familiar, they should. The famous VA clinic scandal that rocked the nation in 2014 originated largely due to a CNN article that focused on wait times and wait lists at none other than the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

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The report found that 40 veterans had died waiting for appointments, to refresh your memory. However, the most infuriating part of the story is almost more to do with the cover-up.

The Phoenix VA had two waiting lists. The list they used to report to Congress was that everything was fine, and veterans received the care they needed in the appropriate amount of time. And the secret list contained between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans, some of who waited more than a year for appointments.

It doesn’t seem like much has changed.

RELATED: The Truth Behind Military Brass Incompetence And The System That Perpetuates It

Empty Words And Empty Promises

After the 2014 VA scandal broke, one of the developments to come out of the mess was allowing veterans to see providers outside the VA system in certain circumstances. Now the VA is discussing changing that rule due to increased spending.

When the trend seems to show that the VA system hasn’t improved, it doesn’t make much sense to make it harder for veterans to get the care they want and deserve. Watching these videos of our nation’s veterans who have given so much of themselves to their country be beaten, abandoned, and treated like a nuisance is enough to make my head explode.

Perhaps even more jarring are the police reports. For example, the police narrative of Mr. Webb’s beating in Atlanta reads as below:

“(Mr. Gaillard is seen) punching Mr. Webb in the face with both fists, moving him backwards until he was pinned up against the wall. Mr. Gaillard was seen placing his hands around Mr. Webb’s neck then proceeded to body slam him to the floor. Mr. Gaillard then kicked Mr. Webb in the head several times while he was on the floor.”

A VA spokesperson said of the incident:

“This disturbing behavior is contrary to our core values of treating Veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

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