tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN February 7, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST
n, which may worsen kidney problems. i discovered the potential with ozempic®. ♪ oh! oh! oh! ozempic®! ♪ ask your healthcare provider if ozempic® is right for you. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, the president's red line about to be crossed by democrats, from his finances to family separations at the border, the oversight of president trump begins. plus, new details on the president's carefully guarded tax returns. we now know where they are and how desperate some are to get them. the controversial acting attorney general set to testify and democrats already have a subpoena waiting if he refuses to answer questions. and jurors deciding the fate of one of the world's most notorious gangsters keep asking
questions in day four of deliberations as "el chapo" waits. first, breaking news. the justice department says acting attorney general matt whitaker won't testify before a house panel tomorrow unless he's guaranteed he won't face a subpoena. the house judicial committee today agreed to have him testify tomorrow. why is the justice department drawing this line in the sand? >> well, brianna, the justice department really views this as a breach of the agreement they had with whitaker to voluntarily testify tomorrow morning. and in their view, they've gone around that process, the democrats have, by issuing a subpoena preemptively before any questions have been asked. of course, the democrats are very focused on whitaker's conversations with the president, questions he may have exchanged with the president and the white house about the special counsel's russia investigation as well as his ethics of recusal.
and on all of these issues, the justice department has a point by point letter i got my hands on, and i want to read to you one of the things they say that whitaker would be willing to testify on here. they say the acting attorney general will testify that at no time did the white house ask for or did the acting attorney general provide any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation. but they go on to say, brianna, we do not believe, however, that the committee may legitimately expect the acting attorney general to discuss his communications with the president. that's the whole fight here, because jerry nadler, the top democrat in the house judiciary committee, said tell me ahead of time if the trump administration plans to invoke special privilege to have whitaker avoid those questions, the justice department saying we can't tell you ahead of time, that usurps the whole process. they're in this standoff now with whitaker saying unless i
get reinsurance by 6:00 p.m. tonight that you don't plan to use that subpoena that's in your back pocket, i'm not showing up for the hearing tomorrow morning, breanefore he brianna. >> because what would the assertion do to any privilege? >> they had an authorization ready to go, they had a vote on it ready to go today, so that if in the hearing he said, i'm not answering that, nadler could show him the subpoena and say, you have to answer that. then if whitaker still refused to answer it, they could maybe hold him in contempt of court. there would be a back and forth that would take quite a while and it would be quite a spectacle, and some might say what woulding t inin inin ining point when bill barr is expected to be confirmed next week. we would have to wait and see how all of that would play out,
but that could be the risk here, having that subpoena in their hand at the time of the hearing. >> let's bring in chief political analyst gloria borger to talk more about this. what do you make of this move? is this an admission in any way of the justice department we would have seen a lot of executive privilege claimed? >> it is, and i think what they're trying to say here is that they don't want to establish this precedent for other people in the administration where somebody could have a pocket subpoena, a preemptive subpoena, sitting there on the table forcing other members of the administration to testify on things they don't want to testify on. i think that what they're saying is we're not going to do this. if i had to bet, he wouldn't show up. it's not going to happen. as laura was saying, if he's held in contempt of congress, what does it matter, he's gone, he's leaving. but i do believe this may sort of set some -- they want to send
a signal to democrats and say, you really cannot do this. >> because they are expecting there to be a number of hearings, a lot of oversight where they would pull folks in from the administration. what's the point of doing this when you have barr coming in as the -- presumably, as the attorney general -- >> from the democrats' point of view? >> yeah. >> in think the democrats want answers to questions about the communications that whitaker who, as you know, was on cnn calling the russia investigation a witch hunt, that they want to know what communications whitaker had with the president, either before he took this job and after he took this job. >> do they have any assurances he's given the president or whether he's given them information about what's going on with the mueller probe? >> they want to know how much he's told the president, if anything. they also want to know why he wasn't recused from this in the
beginning since he made it so very clear that he did not believe the russia investigation was a valid investigation. so i think in a way what the democrats are doing is trying to kind of flex their muscle. it is a little bit of theater here to say, okay, we're going to preemptively subpoena you so just get ready when you testify before us. so the democrats are saying there is a new sheriff in town and we can do this. what the justice department -- what whitaker is saying and presumably the administration is saying is you can't. you can't do this to us because we're not going to show up. i dare you to hold me in contempt. and we may see this play out multiple times now that the democrats are in charge and the white house and the administration is saying not so fast, we're going to try and figure out ways to avoid this. >> gloria borger, thank you.
just moments ago the senate judiciary committee gave a yes vote to bill barr set to become the next attorney general in the united states. cnn's manu raju on capitol hill covering this. the russia investigation is hanging over this entire process. talk about the vote and also tell us what's coming next after this. >> reporter: yeah, 12-10, a straight party line vote. the senate judiciary committeeicommittee i approving a nomination of bill barr. next week probably he will get confirmed, almost certainly, given republican support for this nomination. the fight over bill barr's stand over how he would handle the mueller investigation once he assumes this job, assuming he gets confirmed. will he allow it to proceed? will he allow that final report to come out publicly? he has not said categorically.
he said he would follow justice department guidelines but democrats want to hear more. they want to hear that he will not interfere with the investigation whatsoever. one thing he did say, brianna, he would not allow the white house to assert executive privilege. i asked robert blumenthal if that was enough to reassure him. he said it was not. >> i find no reassurance in renouncing executive privilege, because that's only one of the excuses that could be given to forestall conspiracy. all of america deserves to know not whether just laws were broken but criminal action that may not have been charged. william barr is likely to be confirmed. if there is no indictment and no report, there is a cover-up. >> reporter: this comes as a new
cnn poll shows there is significant public support on both sides of the aisle to release that report. a staggering number of 87% of the public wants a public report including 80% of republicans. that's up 8% from may, and brianna, as you know, there are very few things that get democrats and republicans united. this certainly does, which is why some republicans say there is nothing to worry about with bill barr because there will be so much pressure for him to release the report. we'll see if he ultimately does once he becomes attorney general. the russia investigation may be winding down, but some of the investigations on president trump are just getting started. so much for the president's red line when he declared his personal finances are off limits. house democrats promise a sweeping investigation as to whether the president's financial interests are driving his political decisions. and they do plan to push for
release of his tax returns. in a tweet today, the president wrote, the dems and their committees are going notes. the republicans never did this to president obama. there would be no time left to run government. a continuation of witch hunt. cnn politics congressional reporter lauren fox is here to walk us through all of this. there is a lot of oversight here, a lot of hearings we're going to be seeing. >> that's right, brianna. democrats did not take the president's advice to essentially not touch him during these investigations. they are moving forward and there was so much action today on capitol hill. this morning we do know that the house judiciary committee voted to preemptively have that subpoena ready in case matthew whitaker comes before the committee and isn't ready to answer questions. today we know that is controversial and matthew whitaker is saying he may not even appear at that hearing. we also know that the energy and commerce committee, the subcommittee, had a hearing on family separation. in a few hours, the ways and
means subcommittee is going to have a hearing on presidential tax returns, and there was a hearing on global warming in the natural resources committee. a lot of oversight happening very quickly. and we do know that there are more than 11 committees at this point that are looking into more than 20 issues ranging from family separation, the president's finances, tax returns. there's so much to investigate, including the russia probe, security clearances in the house oversight committee. there is just a huge number of things that democrats want to look into. i asked them this week, what do you think about the president essentially saying he doesn't want you looking into this? and they said, it's our constitutional duty to do this. if we have questions, we're going to do oversight on the trump administration and find out what's at the bottom of f . everything. brianna? >> thank you for walking us through that, lauren. right now a house subcommittee is focusing on president trump's zero tolerance policy. today one human health and
services official said his agency never would have backed a program that separated migrant families. >> would you have advised dhs to implement the policy of zero tolerance? >> if they had asked. >> neither i nor anyone i know would have supported such a policy process. i do not believe separating children from their parents is in the best interest of the child, but i did not participate in discussions regarding the policy. >> cnn justice correspondent jessica with us. that was an amazing moment in that hearing. >> democrats are still incensed that this policy went into action last spring, separating children from their parents or guardians. and there was an inspector general report that said the administration actually don't have any idea how many children were separated beyond their initial report that said about
3,000 children were separated. now that report is saying thousands more children may have been separated. that's been a big flash point at this committee hearing. also some questions have been emerging about which officials knew what when. you saw commander general white there. he said he's not sure which officials between hhs -- that is separate from the doj which implemented the policy -- he's not sure which officials there knew this policy would go into effect. then he talked about the traumatic effects that this policy has had and will have on these children. that's exactly what prompted a democratic lawmaker to really speak out and criticize this entire program. take a listen. >> i just feel like what's been happening is more than irresponsible and sloppy, but i really think that what we're talking about is state-sponsored child abuse, and i would go as far as to say kidnapping of
children. >> so the democrats there not mincing any words. they're also criticizing hhs secretary alex azar for not appearing at this hearing. of course, hhs not responsible for the policy itself, but they're in charge of the office of refugee resettlement which was responsible for the children. they're saying the secretary should be there to answer some of their questions. hhs, of course, is now saying the secretary is working with them, providing documents, and they're saying that the secretary will be at the committee for another subject where potentially he will answer questions on this as well. >> he's certainly going to be asked them, that is for darn sure. jessica snyder, thank you so much for bringing that to us. did nancy pelosi throw shade on ocasio-cortez's green deal? and the political implosion from virginia, from blackface to
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astrazeneca may be able to help. despite president trump's warnings, house democrats are beginning investigations on several fronts. there is a hearing today on requiring presidents to release their tax returns, and house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff says they'll be looking into the personal finances of the president and his cabinet. we're joined now by congressman michael waltz. he is a republican from florida. sir, thank you for being with us again. >> sure, thank you. >> when you look at these investigations and you look at democrats seeking the president's tax returns looking into his personal finances, is that fair game? >> yeah, so, brianna, i'm not on the intelligence committee, but
look, i think this is kind of runaway investigations on the president. we have gone round and round, including on this network, on the mueller investigation, what the fbi is doing letting that investigation play out, which i agree, i'm in the camp that it should play out even though it needs to play out fairly before we start piling on a bunch of other investigations. that's part one. part two, this is the investigation committee. we have a lot of issues we're dealing with from china to metastasi metastasizing, you name it. three, if you agree to this, it should be in the ways and means committee which handles tax issues, but my problem there is this really sets a precedent and privacy concerns for americans from the president down to your average teacher, taxpayer, what have you on releasing their taxes and having congress demand
their tax returns and politicizing that issue. i have issues across the board with it, bottom line. >> do you prefer when presidential candidates still release their tax returns? >> it certainly has been the precedent for presidents to do it in the past. but again, right now we have a voluntary system. if we want to change that system, then let's look into it, but using some type of subpoena power or just doing it involuntarily post facto is what i have problems with, not to mention the fact of the distractions that this is -- from the other intelligence issues, not to mention the fact we already have the mueller investigation. let's let that finish. if there's gaps or issues there, then let's talk about supplements. >> let's talk about isis. the president says probably next week the u.s. will destroy 100% of the territory that isis had a amassed. that's not to be confused with
decimating isis, though, right? >> i give the president and the administration a lot of credit for taking the handcuffs off of our military that were frankly put on there by the obama administration and destroying isis as a caliphate, as a country. at one point it was bigger than maine with a $250 million economy. but isis is not destroyed as a movement, it's metastasizing, it's growing. on the armed services committee we just received testimony yesterday about its growth all over the world, so we have to keep our foot on its neck. we have sto stay on offense, an if we have them running scared of where they're going to sleep at night, they can't plot and plan to attack us in the united states. brianna, there is a reason we haven't had a tax like orlando and a tax like out in san bernardino and paris, london and other places in the last couple of years. that's because they're running scared, but we have to finish the job. >> you served in afghanistan so i want to talk to you about the peace talks that are going on there, and the president talked
about this during the state of the union. he was touting how much the taliban wants them. is that really a sign of u.s. progress, though, saying that the taliban wants to negotiate a way for the u.s. to get out of afghanistan? >> yeah, so i have some real concerns here, brianna. look, we all want the soldiers to come home. that is just a universal goal. but we also don't want to give up our gains and we don't want another 9/11. right now half the world's terrorist organizations exist in the afghan-pakistani border today. and i don't think for a second -- one, i don't trust the taliban when they say "trust us, we'll keep al qaeda and isis at bay." that's like trusting the russians, you know, to not build nuclear weapons. number two, even if you do buy that assurance, which i don't, they don't have the capability to keep isis and al qaeda at bay. and number three, these negotiations haven't included the afghan government, which is kind of a key component there.
so, again, i'm not talking hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground. we need to maintain a counterterrorism capability, we need to maintain our ability to grow the afghan army and their capability like we have the south korean army and others over the years to defend themselves on their own, and this is critical to keeping america safe. at the end of the day, like i said, we're going to fight this in kabul or damascus or it's going to follow us home to places like kansas city, orlando, san bernardino. i prefer a stand of offense on this. >> i want to talk about an exchange that one of your fellow congress members had. rick gates was making an argument that building a border wall would be a bigger deterrent to crime.
there was an issue in the gallery. he asked that they be removed. >> i hope we don't forget the pain, the anguish, sense of loss felt by everyone in the country who have been victims of violence at the hands of illegal violence. a wall, a barrier on the southern border may have stopped this, and that's what we're fighting for. >> greatest driver of violence and the circumstances i indicated was not the firearm. it is the fact we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently. >> there will be no comments or demonstrations, please. >> mr. chairman, point of order. is there any committee rule that prevents a member of congress
from reciting false statements in a committee hearing that are unsupported by the evidence -- that are unsupported by the evidence, or are members of congress entitled to just make things up in support of arguments? >> is there a process in the committee whereby if the very same people are interrupting the time of the members that those people will be asked to depart the committee, or is there -- >> those people know a thing or two about the issue before that committee, as you know, congressman. you're from florida. so i know this is something on your mind for sure, but do you agree with your colleague that illegal immigration is a bigger problem in america than gun violence? >> well, look, first, brianna, let me say that i'm the father of a 15-year-old girl. i can certainly and deeply sympathize with the parkland
parents. and just where they are emotionally and where they are on this issue. certainly that entire incident breaks my heart. i think what the hearing was getting at was a move towards universal background checks, and my point, coming into this as a freshman, as a freshman congressman, has been that congress passed laws called fixnix, which tries to address the existing background checks and demands that states provide that information into the system. the states aren't doing that. heck, in fact, the military isn't even doing that. the shooting out in the church in texas was done by an air force veteran. it should have been -- he should have been flagged in the fbi system and the air force's own i.g. faulted the air force for not doing that. i think there is a lot of issues with the current system. legislation has been passed to try to fix that. i think we need to enforce the
laws that are on the books before we start getting to all these other issues. i'll let congressman gates explain what he's thinking and who they thought they were, but at the end of the day -- >> but is he right? is immigration a bigger threat? >> i think what he's getting at, there has been gun violence from immigrants. don't we want to prevent all gun violence? right? and don't we want to get to legislative solutions -- >> but do you think building the wall would help prevent gun violence more than other provisions that were being discussed there? >> what i think, and this is what the president has said and i have said, is that putting in barriers strategically where the border patrol has requested them has been proven to slow down and deter illegal immigration. so to the extent that we have people that shouldn't be here that then also get illegal firearms as an illegal immigrant, then sure, it would
help there. i think that's just common sense. but what i'm not going to get into is this one or that one. i wasn't at the hearing. that isn't my issue. i want to stop that across the board. >> but the point of crime when it comes to illegal immigrants, when you look at those statistics, that argument doesn't hold water. was this the place for your fellow florida republican congressman to bring that into this topic? i mean, the hearing was about gun violence. and he brought that up, and then asked to kick out parents who had a visceral reaction because their kids have died. >> well, first, i don't know that he knew that that's who they were. these hearings get protested all the time. >> should he know? there aren't that many -- >> i don't think you can reasonably expect a member of congress to know everybody that's in the audience or memorize faces. however, brianna, what i want to
stick to is the issue at hand here which is illegal immigration, which we're all trying to fix, which i think you have to do before we can get to legal immigration reform. and then separately let's get to enforcing what we already have on the books to lower gun violence. i think those are things that we can all work towards, and again, i'll let him go through the tick-tock of exactly what happened when. i wasn't there and i'm not sure. >> congressman michael waltz, thank you for coming on. we appreciate you joining us today. >> okay. thank you so much, brianna. we have more breaking news. we have a showdown that just erupted over tomorrow's testimony from the president's acting attorney general. the acting attorney general says he won't testify unless the democrats drop their subpoena threat. $75? $50? actually, duncan got his $500,000
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6:00 p.m. tonight, that is when the justice department wants written assurance from the house judiciary committee that they will not serve acting attorney general matthew whitaker with a subpoena. we have our panel with us now. this is all unfolding, still, ahead of what we're going to see as a scheduled appearance maybe, maybe not, probably not at this point, at this oversight hearing
on the house side. it began with democrats authorizing a subpoena before the testimony. why did they do that? >> they want to control the action, and that's what whitaker wants to do, too. if he says i'm here voluntarily, he sets parameters, he can remind them i'm here to be cooperative. i'm here as a volunteer, not under compulsion. they want him under compulsion so they can have more rules about what he has to answer. technically, legally speaking, under subpoena if he doesn't comply with it or he doesn't answer something, they have the threat of contempt. practically that's a lot of s p steps to get to the contemt point. i would call this a beating one's chest contest between the doj and the hill. >> the committee wants to know about maybe what assurances whitaker has given the president, right? >> right, they want to know about these conversations matt whitaker has had with the president or people at the white house about the investigation.
was he ever asked to do anything in particular? was he ever asked to restrict the scope? was he ever asked to, in some way, prejudge or communicate to the special counsel about the length of the inquiry? and i do think that part of the reason that the democrats decided that they wanted to issue or prepare this subpoena even before he appeared is because it's a timing issue, right? he is now acting as the attorney general. they have gotten the agreement for him to appear before the committee now, and i think they anticipate, and actually, the letter from the justice department confirms today that he is going to say no. that category of question he is not willing to answer, and so anticipating that, they sort of are trying to cut out a few steps and say, okay, we have this ready in our back pocket. if you're really not going to answer our questions, which are legitimate questions of the committee, they think, then we're forcing you to testify.
>> do you think they have the backing of the government? >> behind closed doors, they may come to some accommodation, but i would be very surprised if they came to an agreement like that. >> whitaker in his prepared statements said he is willing to talk about everything except that. >> shan, julie, thank you so much. from blackface to alleged sexual assault, virginia's top three officials are up to a challenge. the jury of one of the most infamous criminals keep asking questions. hear what's going on behind the scenes. cascade platinum does the work for you, prewashing and removing stuck-on foods, the first time. wow, that's clean! cascade platinum. about the colonial penn program. here to tell you if you're age 50 to 85 and looking to buy life insurance
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first it was the governor, then the lieutenant governor and now the state's attorney general. the top three democrats in virginia are all caught up in scandals. governor ralph northam is under fire over that racist photo in his medical school yearbook and his admission that he appeared in blackface to mimic michael jackson in a dance contest. justin fairfax is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 which he denies. and attorney general mark h herring admits to being in
blackface. good evening. >> good evening, brianna. >> so if all three top democrats resigned, how difficult would that be for virginia democrats? >> it would be difficult, but we have to make sure the people of virginia have voice also. from my viewpoint, with the governor, he complicated things. when the governor first came out or the pictures first came out, i did not immediately say he needed to resign. i wanted to hear the rest of the facts. he instantly had a credibility problem which leads to a problem for him to continue to lead his government because surely you would know whether it was you or not whether you ever dressed up in blackface or in a kkk costume. so that's him. clearly we have to make sure the situation with mr. fairfax, you
know, when all of the facts come out in that regard, clearly you have to take seriously the allegations that are put forth and listen to the individual who has a voice, and we have to take that very seriously. but those, i think we better see how those facts are and how they turn out. i have three daughters so i take it very seriously. in the case of the attorney general, to me he doesn't have the same credibility issue that the governor has. he realized he made a mistake. he came out and said it was a mistake. he came out and said -- so he doesn't have the same credibility issue that i think the governor has by him saying it was him, and then he just said it wasn't him. i think we have to look at all three scenarios. there are still things to wade through and we'll find out what the end results are. >> you think northam should go, it sounds like you're saying, but what about fairfax?
you want to wait on the facts for that? and then you don't have a problem with the attorney general maintaining a position in the government of virginia? >> that is correct. that's basically where i fall. i think with fairfax we have to wait and get the pieces. with the attorney general, look, there are some critical mistakes that were made that was going on in virginia's history. but back in the '80s and america, racism alive and well, people were not as sensitive then as they should have been. the fact when i look at a medical school yearbook, when you talk of the northam situation, that someone published it and they allowed that to go into a yearbook and the college acknowledged it and let it go, no one at that particular point said anything, that was a problem there, period. >> congressman, i want to ask you -- i'm sorry to interrupt you, but i want to ask you, because i hear what you're saying and you're making these distinctions.
a lot of people, even democrats, have not made these distinctions when it comes to the attorney general or when it comes to an allegation that really should be taken seriously as a potentially credible allegation against fairfax. when you have democrats who have nationally taken issue with president trump on the issue of sexual assault accusers, on the issue of race, how nationally can democrats have the moral authority to do that if these three men remain in power in virginia? >> well, look, you should be asking that the question of the republicans when trump is still the president of the united states. and when there was multiple women that came out in regards to donald trump. lawsuits out with reference to donald trump. i say that with mr. fairfax, i'm not saying he gets off the hook or anything of that nature, i'm saying we better look very seriously and there may be a
price he has to pay once all of the facts are out and we're listening to everyone in that regard. >> no, we did -- >> you don't have to compare donald trump with mr. fairfax at all. >> we asked those questions over and over when it came to then-candidate donald trump, for sure we did, sir. let me say a scenario where northam goes, let's say we learn more in the case of justin fairfax. if you have a case where it is the attorney general now becoming the governor, and this is someone who admits that he has been in blackface before, you can imagine what kind of ammunition that is going to give republicans, supporters of president trump's. is that really where democrats want to be spending their time defending? >> what you would do is look at his record as a public official. look at his record over what he
has done over his lifetime. if the record doesn't fit, where he says he is now and doesn't stand for, if the record shows that time and time again he's done certain things that are racist in nature, as is the fact with the president of the united states, when you listen to his -- look at his record, his words or repeat the basis, clearly he does not deny who he is and his actions prove it. i say then you have to look at the actions and the record and the work of the attorney general in that regard. clearly to me, if you ask me can someone overcome and redeem themselves from a mistake they've made and acknowledged? absolutely. it's happened time and time again. look at former senator bird, for example, who used to be a member of the ku klux klan but has acknowledged that that was a mistake and then went on to do some good deeds. i do take that into consideration. but your credibility is marred
if you say you did something and try to come back. you lose credibility. >> can i ask you, as a democrat and you're looking at this happening, how disappointing is it, though, when you see the top three democrats in >> it's disappointing in america when you see and understand the systematic racism that's been in place in america for a long period of time and we've got to continue to work to get it out and stop it. that's why we're trying to put policies in so we can stop the systematic racism that is taking place with reference to people. when you have a president of the united states who stands up even in the state of the union and if you listen to his words as he demonized and used racial terms to describe immigrants from south america, people who happen to be brown, that is a problem that continues to perpetuate itself. when you have a president who
calls certain nations a-hole nations and that's okay, that's a systematic racism problem we have in america that we've got to address and so when you have a president of the united states who feels that is okay to continue to do that, then that is a huge problem we've got to deal with whether you're democrat or republican. we've got to stand up and prevent that from happening. >> congressman, thank you so much for the discussion. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. fascinating new details about where the president's tax returns are and how desperate some are to get them. plus, it's been four days and jurors in the trial of el chapo are still deliberating. what is the hold-up? we're live outside the courthouse. accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. switch and you could save $782
did nancy pelosi throw shade at alexandria ocasio-cortez's green new deal? hear the remark and what's in the congresswoman's plan. howard schultz who made democrats furious over a possible independent run just revealed some policy ideas of his own. and delta and coke apologizing over the napkin that caught many passengers by surprise. ♪ ♪
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