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Trump Administration
  CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  March 22, 2017 11:01am-11:41am PDT

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case would be highly inappropriate in terms of trying to guess what the outcome of a case should be. >> along that line, the official according to his -- reached out to the department of justice civil rights division, had the wrong number, called another number had the right number, to include the obama administration an other administrations the department of justice limited the numbers of people to call over to the department of justice. has the attorney general, general sessions changed that? >> it would have to be reissued. in terms of every attorney general issues a memo i think going back to mokasi post water gate but it's been a practice to almost every attorney general to issue a memo spelling out the procedures that the officials in
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the justice department contact the white house and who they can contact and the nature of which and what their exceptions are, et cetera, they get crafted by each new attorney general. i would refer you back to the department of justice on the status of that under this attorney general. >> how many officials here have that right to call the department of justice -- >> i don't know. i would refer you to the department of justice. >> but was there wrong doing in this effort? >> i don't know. i don't know the nature of what you're asking but refer you back to the department of justice. >> two quick questions. last november president trump dismissed reports he was trying to obtain security clearances for his children as quote a typically false news story. now there are reports ivanka trump is attempting to obtain clearances. >> at the time it was not true. she wasn't obtaining a skurecur
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clearance so it was not accurate then. there was no -- i think we addressed it during the transition, an official had actually inquired there was no actual attempt at the time the official in question was removed from the transition team. they merely made an inquiry to get an fs-86 process forwarded. no account was open and that official was let go. at this time as i mentioned yesterday, ivanka has decided to go above and beyond and act in certain ways she complies with certain rules by maintaining the federal records act, getting a security clearance so that if she is privy to any information she has to abide by the same rules and regulations if she is in a room, et cetera, i released a statement and will stick by ii
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it. >> a plan to quote unquote benefit a client of vladimir putin do you still stand by he had a quote unquote limited role, and how spending months as a top official is a limited role? >> i've tried to avoid commenting -- i've talked to a lot of you about the individual stories but i think obviously this one start today cated to c of buzz, briefly on this, i think nothing in this morning's report references any actions by the president, white house administration that's clear from the get go, the report is entirely focused on actions that paul took a decade ago recording a former advisor of the campaign and the actions that came to light this morning are about a client he had last decade. i know i commented on this the other day and clearly should
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have been more precise with respect to paul's role. paul was hired to over see the delegate's operation, played a significant role in the convention and delicate operations of four previous republican nominees bob dole, george w. bush, ronald reagan, and to be clear he got the job done on the delegates. after months of speculation after a contested campaign, he was involved in the campaign under five months hired march 28th to oversee delegations. the a.p. focus on his activities in the last decade, to place in context he placed clients public data including the caribbean,
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africa, it is similar to the work of tony podesta, last year not last decade tony podesta lobbied against the largest bank and s-- sat on a board of a ban company. it's not even close, what we're talking about isn't even close to her most significant role with respect to rush. hillary clinton along with the obama administration that gave one fifth of america's uranium reserves, bill clinton paid a half a millions by a paid speech connected to the you're ydeal. so a individual who worked less than five months who worked with
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a russian -- even though the clintons had mump more extenttive ties. as secretary of state hillary was crafting a policy she said was design today quote strength then russia and to be clear the president has no personal financial dealings with russia, they are dealing with contest in russia once and selling a palm beach home to a businessman in 2005. and for the media members trying to conflate paul's role, numerous individuals, james clapper and mike more rel and intelligence from both parties have said across the board they have seen zero evidence of any collusion between the trump campaign and russian officials and not going to be changed by former business dealings of a campaign staffer from a decade ago. >> do you and other senior administration officials have
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sought to assure skeptical republican lawmakers that phase two of these regulatory modifications will address some of their concerns. what is secretary tom -- waiting for? why not phase two now? >> in some cases it's all one package and why you saw some of the stuff he is working on. what the important piece is get phase one part of it done. he has assured them an talked the them and the different administrative actions. part is sequences same as obamacare they didn't have -- go out an start implementing things they passed the bill first through the reconciliation process, and then did the administrative piece, we're doing the same process because of how some of the sequencing has to occur, on the legislative front all of those pieces of
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legislation have been done, senator maccarthy has talked about it. part of it is a sequencing aspect that needs to get taken care of but we are moving in the right direction. >> the first question on skype. >> yes, good afternoon, sean. sean, a lot of members of the media [ inaudible ] the president to all the people. what does the president say -- [ inaudible ] yesterday you had -- the white house grand standing at the -- hearing, [ inaudible ] boston globe condemning -- [ inaudible ]
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>> i think with respect to judge gorsuch, which i think what you're -- pretty clear where that's where you're headed on this. we've gotten -- when you look at the praise obviously i would love for it to be universal and while we've gotten bipartisan praise from pundits, jurists and legal scholars, members of congress, we're not going to win everybody and i think that democrats have tried to score some points on the committee. they have largely fallen by the wayside and you know we've seen very high praise form, so i would just suggest anybody who has a problem with him i would love to hear it because no one seems to have a problem with his
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academic credentials, his record or anything else, so i'm pretty b -- by what we've seen from capitol hill. >> there are at least two dozen or so who are nos, how do you get from this point right now policy wise to tomorrow something, anything that might be might flip that? >> i think we're doing it. piece by piece member by member we're getting there. we're getting much closer. the last couple of days we've continued to do that but then today alone i mentioned a couple other members slowly but surely we're getting that and confident when the vote comes up we'll have the votes. >> -- described the members of congress coming in here to the white house as the closer. do you embrace that >> he is the closer. >> do you embrace that label as
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it relates to health care? >> absolutely. >> you just mentioned the health care bill will pass tomorrow. i want to get a sense of how confident you are. i don't know if you want to rate it on a percentage on it like how confident are you that the bill will pass and if it doesn't pass is there a plan b? >> no, there's plan a and plan a and we're going to get this done. >> so if -- >> we're going to get it done. >> you said you didn't know what information you would find out from chairman nunes, but when d did the president know about what came out on capitol hill, he spoke last week we found out more information that relate to these wiretapping claims. >> we don't know what he knows versus what the president had been made aware of and so how that jives i don't know, i hope to have more for you later.
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>> quick followup on health care. does the president believe health care bill will pass the house tomorrow? >> yes. >> jonathan. >> did the president know that he had worked to advance p persia's interest? >> he was not aware of paul's client in the last decade. >> all this is coming out -- >> what else is coming out? what else don't we know? who he went to grade school with, who he played with in the sandbox? >>. [ inaudible ] >> no you're not, the answer to your question is to talk about someone having a client ten years ago that had a consulting company with clients around the world. >> but millions of dollars of person's interests -- >> hold on, i'm going to answer
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your question if you give me a second. he was a consultant, he had clients around the world. there was no suggestion he did anything improper but to suggest that the president knew who his complian clients were from a decade ago is a bit insane. he wasn't a government employee, there was nothing he did to suggest at this point that anything was nefarious, he was hired to do a job, he did it plain and simple. >> you brought it up just then with hillary clinton that these were corrupt arrangements and clinton foundation was described as a criminal enterprise and all this discussion of russia. >> there's a big difference -- there was dollars -- >> i'm just asking is he disappointed now that he's found out -- >> found out what, jonathan that he had a client in the past decade and you're worried that he held what -- >> the work he was --
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>> i don't know what work he was doing so to suggest that just because he had a client in the past decade. he was hired to count delegates and was success. for it which he had done for bush, and ford and he did a fine job. >> why did the president fire paul manafort? >> issues with his ties to ukraine that were becoming a distraction and secondly i think 16 points down at the time. and he was down 20s in women. and i think the president recognized that he need today ma -- needed to make a change. >> if as confident and optimistic as you are if you don't have the magic number should the speaker pull the bill -- >> this is it. if you want to see obamacare
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repealed and replaced, this is the time to vote and time to act, this is what the american people have been told is going to happen. if you are waiting for your chance, this is it. we need to act. >> wall street appears to be getting a little nervous about the possibility of tax reform this year. can you say definitively the president will present a package of tax reforms this year? >> yes. >> what time is the president expected to meet with -- [ inaudible ] >> i was walking out as the chairman was reiterating. i literally heard him on the streaming, like on the -- his comments as he was saying, soist i don't know. >> was there any consideration not given to the chairman? >> i just know what the chairman said he was doing. i walked out before anything had
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been finalized he was still wrapping up the call with teresa may. >> you said there's no plan b, tomorrow is it. >> you did a very good job. you better be careful you're doing good work. >> so if tomorrow's outcome doesn't go your way, what should we read into the president's ability to close deals and the white house the -- >> look, i know what you're trying to get me -- we feel good about the trajectory of this. members continue to come with us. the number is going higher and higher, not lower an lower, so the trajectory is great. everybody is out there full-court press on this and this is the opportunity for anybody who wants to see this done, but i just want to be clear, we have a robust agenda ta tax reform, trade immigration,
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there's a lot of other things that need to get done and continued to be widespread support in a lat ot of cases b bipartisan support. >> for those who decide not to support the white house, what kind of relationship any change in the relationship would they see going forward, expect to see a primary challenge later on or one of those things they can vote their conscious if they don't really believe this is the bill? >> we obviously believe this is a great opportunity to achieve the principals that we laid out to the american people. we're not looking -- the president made clear yesterday when he visited with the conference, he's not there to threaten them, but to explain the political landscape and to explain i think when you keep your promise no matter what business you're in you tend to be rewarded whether it be by your customers, friends, family,
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voters, washington too long has suffered a deficit of trust and we made it very clear to the american people if you gave us this opportunity that we would get certain things done and this was at the top of that list and this bill represents the best chance of repealing an replacing obamacare an replacing a sen trtric health care bill. jonathan. >> sean, would then candidate donald trump have hired paul manafort for such an important and prominent position in his campaign if he had known he had a $10 million contract so close to vladimir putin would he have -- >> i don't know, paul was hired as i said to count delegates. that's why he was brought in as
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he had been for george w. bush, gerald ford, bob dole. >> and he ran the came papaign. >> >> but you will admit a very prominent role. >> yes, you're saying the work for a kleclient he did a decade ago, i don't know the answer that if we look back if we knew then what we know now. >> he definitely did not know? >> no, he didn't know. you can think of people in a campaign and in this campaign it was lean an mean, but to suggest that did they pay their tax as -- >> didn't he disclose that? working on behalf of an
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adversary of the united states. the president would want to know, wouldn't he? >> maybe, maybe not. i don't know what the circumstances were at the time and so for me to start to infer what he did or did not do wassing in was improper, i know he did what he was hired to do. >> are you saying he wasn't disappointed to learn in the last 24 hours -- >> i don't know, i haven't -- no, no, because again -- the story that came out this morning said he had this client, paul put out a statement that suggests this is what he did how he handled it. we have not spent a ton of time going to investigate what he did for that client a decade ago -- i have really not discussed the president -- i know he made very clear he hired him to do a job, he did the job well, he got him
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over the finish line, august 19th he was let go of the campaign for the reasons i mentioned. >> paul manafort played any role in the hiring of any people in the federal government -- >> not to my knowledge at all. >> back to the american health care act there was always nervousness that moving too quickly on it would lead to some very dangerous points in the details. several publications including saras reported today as a result of a change of a few words veterans who benefit from the a program called veterans affairs or had the option of getting tax credits would now get neither under the new legislation and that several million veterans would be cost health care, is
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congress doing anything about it? >> most veterans get their health care through tri-care or medicare if they're over 65 or a combination there of correct? >> but there's two programs, one is the veterans affairs programs and the other is the option under the current law, to have tax credits. and my understanding again from sara's publication this morning and several others is several million veterans could possibly lose both. >> i would have to follow-up on you, i'm not aware of any modifications with respect to t tri-care. >> -- rushing through the health care law jamming it through when in fact they actually debated it for about a year. this health care law was rolled out about 15 days ago, so don't you run the risk of rushing this through of not giving it enough time for public debate?
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>> i think republicans have talked about repealing and replacing obamacare since 2010, we have campaigned on it since, they have been very public a long time -- >> but you just rolled out the specifics. >> two of which had unanimous republican support. we're working through the process, this is something the president campaigned on, told the people it would be a top priority, something talked about for seven years kristen so to suggest we are rushing anything, we have done this very, very deliberately and very responsibly to make sure people could read it so again with all due respect to the people who tackled this in the past we actually put it online let the entire world read it and fo cto quote former pelosi read it
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after it's passed, we let the american people read it and watch what occurs and is a much more transparent process. >> the terrorist attack, the president said he spoke with theresa may, can you give us any more information behind it? >> it would be highly irresponsible -- i know the british government is investigating this as an act of terrorism at the moment so for me to get out ahead of -- i know your homeland team an national security team is in contact with them. secretary tillerson has issued a statement as has homeland secretary kellie, so we are in touch with officials in the british government, as i was walking out here the president was finishing up a call with prime minister may and we will have a additional readout to the
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extent that's possible. but we are going to provide assistance to the british government at this time but it would be at this time highly irresponsible to get ahead of the british officials. >> if the plan fails, if the bill fails will the president move on to other issues he's concerned about like trade and leaving obamacare in place and if so how long is he comfortable leaving it? >> well, as i mentioned he's not comfortable, it will be voted on and he will sign it. and we can see the enthusiasm moving in our direction. we're not looking at plan b, we have plan a. >> do you have when they will announce the dates of -- [ inaudible ] >> i do not know at this time. >> why not.
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>> because that's not how it works. because that's something we continue to work with president shi, but trust me when we're ready we will let you and everyone else know. >> will you talk about the bilateral relationship. >> i imagine there will be a lot to discuss. >> -- to come to the white house an brief him on the information or just the intel chair and if so why not? >> well, jeff, it just happened. so it's a silly question to ask me literally as i'm walking out here when the chairman was wrapping up an event saying that he is announcing that he's coming down here. it's not like we picked up the phone and call everyone else, find out who he has briefed and we'll take the next steps going forward. >> is the first of several
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meeting -- >> i don't know, it literally just happened as i was walking out here, so to suggest that other steps have occurred until that briefing occurs, we'll see what this leads to, i don't know. >> what's the state of his credibility? the wall street journal who has been very supportive of his candidacy and agenda simply raised the question that he is not doing very well an said he would be on the verge of being -- what do you believe his state of credibility is as he sit here today? >> i think the president has made several promises to the american people and kept them, appointed neil gorsuch, one of 20 on the list, withdraw a partnership, established a foreign ban, cut regulations said he was going to do that and did that, bring back jobs, he did that, respect taxpayers bringing down costs, he's backed
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the plan to repeal and replace obamacare, putting forth a budget, dakota and the keystone pipeline, he did that. i think making promises to the american people and keeping them, he's got a good record. >> michael flynn's name came up not registered as a foreign agent there's a lot of betting -- he has been very commit tod committed to holding high standards is it sufficient to say that there isn't anybody else working this the interest of foreign government working for this government right now. >> it's a good question because there's a big difference working for a campaign or entity where there's no forms to fill out.
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when you work for the united states government you fill out a security form, that asks certain questions under the penalty of law -- again, he filled out forms, under the penalty of law. i don't know what was on his forms or whatnot was on his forms. remember what the president let him go for was not being truthful to the vice president, not necessarily for what was on a form which i do not know what he filled out or did not fill out. if somebody fills out an fs-86 or employment document and lies or misleads then they're going to face the penalty of law, that's a big difference of saying when someone was hired on a campaign, if someone presented a résume and it was faulty sure i think if that was -- as you recall there was another person during the transition name today a position that was discussed as not being truthful with some of their works, we let them go.
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you -- people write things, they have jobs, they describe themselves in certain ways an every time that i'm aware of we ever had an incident where someone has not been forth wright and truthful we let them go, but when you work for the united states government you work out forms under the penalty of law and none in the past, it's not that paul wasn't truthful, just to be clear you're trying to conflate something, make the acquisition that he was somehow being dishonest. >> i'm not asking about paul manafort. >> then who? >> can you say for certainty there's nobody working for which white house working in the as best of a foreign government? >> i can tell you ever form has been filled out. >> so you trust -- >> you have to -- people are filling out forms so to sit here and ask me if i can vouch for
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everybody, that would be ridiculous to suggest i could, i can tell you that every single person filled out a form that's being vetted by whatever level of classification they need by the appropriate law enforcement agencies or h.r. entities, but i can't prevent somebody from fully disclosing everything on their forms but i can tell you if something has been brought to your attention either they will be sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency, but yes there's no tolerance. >> to devin nunes -- on march 4th, tweeted how far president obama gone to wiretap my phone, this is watt gate or all over, bad or sick guy, does the president still stand by the
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fact that he believes the president obama is a bad or sick guy. >> i think the president's tweets speak for themselves as for the rest of the tweets let's see what further information we gather up. >> on the executive order on energy independence, that's been delayed several weeks now. can you -- >> hold on, why would it be delayed? >> your office said it was going to be released self-weeks ago and there were reports consequently said it would be release and hasn't been. >> with all due respect i don't believe i ever announced that was scheduled to come out. >> okay can you tell us when it will be released? >> no. >> also, in it it addresses the clean power plan which is the obama era claimant chanimate ch regulation and no replacement in that executive order --
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>> i'm going to cut you off, we discussed executive orders in the past until they're ready to be announced i don't comment on the scheduling -- you're asking me the contents it's not a policy question. >> i haven't been able to finish my question. thank you. so apparently there's no replacement for it. that's the answer to a supreme court ruling in 2007. does the administration feel that it is legally bound to regulate greenhouse gases? >> let's wait and see what the executive order says or doesn't say -- i understand the question i'm not getting hahead of this. >> sean, will the president hold a news conference on the attack and do you have any announcement ons t on rallies? >> he sends his messages out in
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a multi different ways. s stay tuned on when the next one is going to be. >> sean, when you learned the members of the president's team may have been in contact with someone in the intelligence community, a federal judge deemed to be a little bit dodgy, does that give you any pause at all? >> who are you referring to? >> the people subject to the fisa order? >> it's in reference to nunes. the president's team are said to have been in contact, picked up by -- when they were in contact with someone the subject of a fisa order, dubs thoes that giv any pause at all given the things you haven't known about manafort? >> to get ahead of what we know -- until we know what the
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chairman is going to brief him on what he is going to reveal to him about whom and when and how would be inappropriate to comment on. elizabe elizabeth christ out of baton rouge. >> thanks. last year louisiana suffered one of the worst flood disasters in our nation's history. thousands of people remain displaced and communities are struggling can rebill. with support from the obama administration the state received about $1.6 billion in flood asin assistance, our gove has asked for president trump's support. two-fold, what has the trump administration -- [ inaudible ] in long term disaster recovery efforts and also can louisiana count on this administration's support for additional flood
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assistance? >> thanks, elizabeth. i believe the process works such as that the governor makes a request to fema, fema puts it through the process. i'm not aware of what the request is or where it stand in the process and refer you back to fema on that. >> this is actually -- separate from fema. this is long term -- [ inaudible ] >> i know that the budget just presented allows for substantial funding for humanitarian assistance including disaster, refugee program funding in priority areas, i think at this point the budget process has just kicked off and we will now you know begin the process of working with congress on watching them draft a budget and talk about our priorities an where we go forward. the president will have a full budget out in may and would be a appropriate time to do that but i would refer you back to the
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governor at this point and figure out where that stands in the process. >> can you say with certainty that paul manafort never encouraged the campaign to take on more pro-russia issues? >> there's nothing to suggest that was the case. >> on nunes from what you know about what he has said so far, is the white house viewing this in any way as vindication on the president's wiretapping tweets? >> i would refer you to his comments specifically. until we know what he's going to brief the president on, i don't want to have to get ahead of this. i think obviously the suggestion that he made that people were what they call unmasked meaning that an american citizen caught up in a surveillance has by rule of law has their name protected, the idea that individuals's names were unmasked and let known suggests -- raises serious
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questions. why was that name unmasked, what was the intention of doing that? there's a lot of questions i think his statement raises and i hope we can continue to get to the bottom of but right now we're not there yet. i think there are a series of questions that need to get answered as to what happened, why it happened, and hopefully we will be able to share more with you going forward. todd. >> thanks, sean. on the border the wall the president's budget blueprint calls for a couple dozen lawyers dedicated to -- land and i wonder how aggressive the imminent domain effort is going to be and how that squares with respect to private property rights? >> as i recall during the bush administration, similar efforts were under taken to secure the appropriate property that would be where a fence or a wall in this case would be, so this is nothing new.
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this is the dwofgovernment doin what it has to do to protect its borders. there's nobody in america and i dare say the world that didn't believe the president was committed to building a wall and i think we're going to take the steps necessary to fulfill that promise to make sure that we have to. i know that the steps are starting to take in terms of funding and administrative steps to see the president's vision fulfilled pledge to the american people. >> is there any update how the wall will be financed? >> i think the 2017 supplemental has additional funding, the 2018 budget. >> but that's general i'm talk b abo -- talking about where the money will come from. >> the president made very clear using existing resources we go forward, there will be continuing discussions about the financing of the wall both in terms of how we will pay for it
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and who will be the course. >> has he given up on mexico? >> not