tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 4, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
hello. i'm stephanie gosk at msnbc headquarters in new york. we start with president trump. his white house under fire for alleged ties to russia. now the president is lobbing explosive accusations of his own. he accused president obama of wiretapping trump tower during the presidential campaign, calling it "watergate and mccarthyism." a senior u.s. official tells nbc news he and others have no idea what the president is talking about. nbc news has found zero evidence of the president's claims. now president obama has
responded. in a statement released by his spokesman, "a cardinal rule of the obama administration is no white house official ever interfered well any independent investigation led by the department of justice." as part of that practice, it neither president obama nor any white house official ever ordered surveillance on any u.s. citizen. any suggestion otherwise is simply false. nbc's intelligence and national security reporter ken delanie, and nbc senior political editor beth fooley. thank you both for joining us today. appreciate it. ken, let's start with you. >> i was wondering to myself was president trump briefed on surveillance at trump tower? is that what he is trying to say? all reporting today is that's
not the case. we can't rule it out completely. as you mentioned, a senior u.s. official has cautioned us against this -- against what trump charged. the way that he articulated this charge is just not how it works. we just don't know if that's happening here. it seems like it would be pretty extraordinary, and the then the question would become why would president trump talk about it because it's contrary to his own interests. stephanie. >> up until this point, has he offered any evidence or told us where the claims have come from. i'm going to turn to you, beth, and i want to give you a couple of tweets from the obama camp today. former obama deputy national security advisor ben rhodes pushed back on the tweeting saying, "no president can order a wiretap.
those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you." tough tweet there. then another one from former speechwriter john favreau who said "eye i'd be careful with borgt that obama said there was no wiretapping. statement just said that neither he nor the white house ordered it." interesting point he makes there. do you think president trump would make this kind of accusation just baseless? >> we know that he reads breitbart news, and we know he listens to conservative talk radio hosts, and we know this habeen a discussion in those circles, in those sort of right wing media circles. it's not surprising he got to this desk. he also, of course, gets intelligence briefings and talks to a lot of people within the intelligence community. he could know a lot more than we know at this point.
the first one was a tough political slam. the president cannot just order a wiretap on a political opponent. it's simply -- our government is not structured that way. as ken was saying, it would have to come as a request from our intelligence agencies or from the fbi through a court to get through to wiretaps. >> there was also some taunting there. maybe there was something going on. >> certainly. it's true that we know as ken said that there is evidence that there is an investigation going on to the russian hacking, and it is possible that one of the agencies who was looking into those allegations did decide to seek a wiretap. we don't know.
>> a question in -- would they even brief president trump did it. if he is a target or if people around him are the targeted of an investigation, would the fbi director james comey brief the president about it? that's an open question, steph. >> absolutely. i want to turn now, beth, to the immigration order. there's an expectation on monday. the revised executive order, it's now expected to be signed. this has been pushed back several times. do you have any idea why there has been a delay here? >> we're talking about the travel ban for those folks coming from certain middle east countries, primarily muslim countries. we know that the white house has been very intent on getting this right this time. it was so criticized with the first travel ban rolled out now several weeks ago. sloppy. botched roll-out. a whole lot of people caught up in the dragnet. many of whom are actually, you
know, quite permitted to be here, people on green cards, people who are married to americans. suddenly they left the country maybe for vacation and weren't allowed to come ck. that's why the whole thing was stopped by federal court. the whe house is intent on getting it right this time. meeting the perimeters of legalities so they can isolate people from these countries without violating the law. the only strange thing about this, stephanie, is weeks ago when that washington judge put a stop to that ban, trump came out and said how much grave danger the united states was going to be in, and it took them several weeks to re-establish it. >> have we been in grave danger all this time? >> are we in grave danger? that's something the president suggested. >> thank you very much. ken delanie. appreciate you guys joining me. >> thank you. today's presidential tweet storm comes after his attorney general jeff sessions was criticized for not disclosing his contacts with russia's ambassador during the presidential campaign.
today trump called attention to president obama's own meetings with that same ambassador. trump also posting this 2003 photo of senator chuck schumer with russian president vladimir putin and called for an investigation. trump defended sessions, claiming that he did nothing wrong. sessions is expected to correct his testimony monday, but these recent disclosures are raising questions about russia's influence on the white house. joining me now, congresswoman sherry of illinois. one of several democratic lawmakers calling on jeff sessions to resign. congresswoman, thank you so much for joining me. what is your reaction to this latest tweet storm from the president accusing obama of tapping his phone and suggesting democrats had their own meetings with the russians? >> well, it is president trump's m. o. he in the middle of the night he throws out these 140 characters at a time, has no evidence, no proof many democrats are calling
on sessions to resign. now there's new tweets that come out. i'm a former investigative reporter myself, and i know and you know and anybody in the journalism business knows that where there's smoke, there's fire. we also know we've seen this long enough that when donald trump was a candidate, we saw him do this. these diversionary tactics. now that he is president for these 40 plus days, we have seen these continual tweets that have no evidence whatsoever. i would say there are reasons why the campaign in the lead-up to an election and certainly after being voted into office before taking office would have reasons to be in touch with
russia. sessions said he met him not as a trump surrogate, but as -- >> i think that's exactly the question we all ought to be asking. what is the context for this? well, we know now that one of these meetings happened to have been in cleveland. it happened to just be at the same time as the republican national convention that was going on. what in the heck was the russian ambassador even doing in cleveland at the same time as the republican national convention. why did these meetings take place? what was discussed. you know, if donald trump seriously has nothing to hide, then he ought to be the one calling for investigation of this. you know, let's get this all out in the open. i'm among those who have called for an independent 9/11 style commission to look into this to remove the politics from this and to get to the bottom of it. we are owed that as members of
the american public and, you know, i think the other thing worth noting here, stephanie, i'm in a congressional district. the 17th district of illinois that donald trump won. i'm one of those few democrats that while i won by 20 points, donald trump also won this congressional district, and so you might think because donald trump won that people in my region are just kind of dismissing this. well, i track all of the issues that we are contacted about from people in the industrial heartland. my congressional district, which is, you know, the epitome of rural america. for the first time this week one of the top issues that people i represent said they want is to make sure that we get to the bottom of this involvement with the trump administration and russia. we'll continue to call for an investigation anan indepennt one at that. >> meanwhile, congresswoman, president trump is saying that democrats are overplaying their hand, that this is a witch hunt. how do you respond to that? >> i would say donald trump
opened this investigation up. let's get to the bottom of it. if it's a witch hunt, that will come out too. we need to understand what's going on with this. our democracy is at stake. we know the picture is becoming clearer and clearer that there was some kind of russian involvement in our election process. we know now that some folks at the top of the trump administration have had communicati communication. let's get an investigation underway. let's remove the politics from it, and let's get some answers. donald trump ought to be calling for that himself if he truly has nothing to hide. >> all right. congresswoman sherry gustos, thank you for joining me. >> thank you, stephanie. as president trump deals with the russia controversy and other challenges, his supporters took to the streets across the country today. in austin, texas, marchers were not stopped by the rainy conditions there. shouting their support and
waving banners. in denver supporters were met by anti-trump demonstrators on the steps of the colorado state capital. >> what he told his constituents and how they reacted coming up next. break through your allergi. introducing flonase sensimist. more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist you may not even notice. using unique mistpro technology, new flonase sensimist delivers a gentle mist to help block six key inflammatory substances that cause your symptoms. most allergy pills only block one. and six is greater than one. break through your allergies. new flonase sensimist. ♪
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senator lindsey graham was at a town hall in south carolina today. >> if the former president of the united states was able to obtain a warrant lawfully to monitor trump's campaign for violating laws, that would be the biggest scandal since watergate. i'm very worried that our president is suggesting that the former president has done something illegally. i would be very worried if, in fact, the obama administration was able to obtain a warrant lawful lawfully. >> natali vaughn. what kind of reception did the senator get from that crowd today is this. >> got to keep in mind that that is h says this is about the most conservative part of south
carolina. south carolina, it's a saturday morning. i met people from an hour, two hours away from the other side of the state. they left at 4:35 a.m. this morning to come and greet lindsey graham, and lindsay graham was the one that said, all right, here, who actually voted for donald trump? there was about five, six, seven eight people that maybe raised their hands among the crowd of 1,000 that came out. he was questioned about five times. he was asked about environmental regulations. what he was repeatedly asked about was russia, and to note lindsey graham has remained over the course of the campaign and since his inauguration -- since donald trump's inauguration, one of the fiercest critics to donald trump. here's some of the soubd of how he responded to donald trump's criticism. >> you may not like the outcome of this election, but i am going to help the man who won this election, help him govern a nation that is under siege internationally, has problems back here at home. i'm going to honor the results
of this election i feel duty-bound to help him where i can. when it comes to russia, it goes wherever it goes. >> reporter: at the same time he said that could congress and the department of justice be to fully investigate all russia claims and potential intelligence in last year's elections, and he said that sanctions on russia need to be strengthened. stephanie. >> ud had a chance to ask vice president pence about the release of the health care plan, and he promised legislative action soon. what is senator graham's position? >> that's where, stephanie, the gap in the republican party is quite wide. this is just in wisconsin yesterday with speaker ryan, with hhs secretary tom price and mike pence. mike pence said there would be scluktive legislative action in the coming days. well, with he heard from lindsey graham this morning, and he said he has yet to see a bill. this bill, the secret bill -- it's not public yet, it's being crafted in the house of representatives among some
leadership over on that side of the aisle. for many of these senators, rand paul being another one, they have yet to see this legislation. lindsey graham said i will tell you this much. i will not back a piece of legislation that i have not seen myself and haven't been able to combat on behalf of south carolinaans. the vice president in the white house may be looking to push this in the house of representatives, but if they don't have the support of members over in the senate, its future may be stalled. >> still so many questions on that, vaughn. vaughn hilliard, thank you very much. let me return now to the fall-out from the russia controversy for the trump administration. joining me now, we have hunter walker, white house correspondent for yahoo news, and national political reporter for the boston globe. thank you both for joining me today. >> thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> hunter, there will be updated
testimony by sessions on monday. >> well, it seems like by choosing to recuse himself from any investigations into russia's ties to the trump campaign, he staked out the middle ground. democrats are vying for him to resign. donald trump is furious that he didn't just sort of stay the course. it will be interesting to see whether by recusing himself he has kind of quelled the furor right now. >> aster, the president has jumped to his defense in a series of tweets. he also pointed out that the same russian ambassador that sessions met with also met obama officials 22 times. does the president have a point there? >> yes, but that's not the -- he is quite an established figure here in washington. the issue at hand is senator
session says or, excuse me, attorney general sessions is testimony in his confirmation hearing. when he was asked by senator franken if he had contact with russian officials and he seemingly point-blank denied it. >> the white house routinely denied contact with russian officials during the campaign. now they say both sides engage with russians the same way. >> did any advisor have any contact with the russians who were trying to meddle in the
election? >> of course not. >> can you say with 100% confidence that mr. trump or anybody in this kpaen had no conversations with anybody in russia during the campaign? >> no. i mean, i'm just telling you it's all phony bologne garbage. >> do you think the white house is rethinking how transparent they need to be? >> we've seen that through the media side and not from the campaign. the two things -- one of two things have to be true. either president trump in those high level officials did not know that they are a number of people acting rogue and speaking to russian officials.
>> i think that media reports will be able to find them and these things will leak out. it will come across the white house to get ahead of this and get ahead of the bandwagon. >> and let me ask you this. you know, people have been saying that these tweets this morning were a diversion to get away from the issue with sessions this week, but we're still talking about russia. >> there was a pile of lingering stories, and one of those -- the biggest lingering story has been his connection with russia. there are ways that this could go away. he could release his tax returns. he could come and say this is when people met with russian officials and this is what they talked about. we haven't seen that, and so
until that becomes true, we'll continue to get these questions that linger around the white house about its relationship with russia, and so i expect it to continue going forward, and until we have a full investigation that comes out to the extent that it's connected with russian ties, still those questions are answered, those will continue to be asked. >> well, there's a good chance that we have something that's going to change the topic of conversation coming up on monday. >> will it be dramatically different, or do you think it will be minor changes? >> well, they're hoping, obviously, that this is going to get them over the legal hurdles that they had before. i think they seem quite confident because we saw this reporting this week that they actually may have delayed this in order to have -- to not step
on the president's news cycle that was coming out of president trump's speech before the joint session of congress. that would seem to indicate they think it is going to go well. right now sessions sort of stepped on that positive news cycle, so we'll see if the roll-out of the executive order can return them to a bit of a win here when they really, really do need one. it has been a controversial order, so it might be a rash of negative headlines. >> hunter, asted, it thank you. >> thank you. the president holding nothing back when accusing former president obama of wiretapping during the campaign. i'll talk to nbc terrorism analyst malcolm nance about the explosive allegation.
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trump accused former president obama of tapping his phones just prior to last year's election. in another tweet trump called the whole situation "nixon watergate." the president provided no evidence to back up the very serious allegations. joining me live now is malcolm nance, executive director of the terror asymmetrics project.
neither president obama nor any white house official ever ordered surveillance on any u.s. citizen. any suggestion otherwise is simply false." what's your take on that response from the obama camp? >> that's absolutely correct because the president of the united states cannot order surveillance legally against an american citizen. now, that's done through the department of justice, through the fbi, and if it's secret, as we're starting to hear some of these secret warrants that came up, the foreign intelligence surveillance act warrants, those are carried out through the department of justice and the president of the united states cannot put his thumb on the scale. but the point it donald trump is making these accusations out of clear blue sky. it may have been associated with a post that mark levine a talker said in mid-january and an article in breitbart news. he is acting as if there is something there.
you know, he has access to all of the secret information in the united states government, and so he is behaving as if he believes this, and either he is paranoid or he has information which is making him feel cornered. >> staemt said obama didn't order it, but that didn't mean that there wasn't a wiretap, right? >> first off, it's not a physical wiretap the way you see in the "sopranos"s, right? our technology is way beyond that type of thing. however, it's possible that there is a foreign intelligence surveillance act warrant that is targeting people in trump tower that may have targeted. i don't know. him. if it is -- watergate was illegal activity. this may be a legal surveillance, and i i just want to know, is he confirming this for us? is he letting us know that this
is actually what's going on as president of the united states. did he just inadvertently declassify information? is he just talking sports talk he here? whichever way, it's really dangerous. >> there are explosive charges here that barack obama is guilty of mccarthyism witch hunt. that's when lives are destroyed over mccarthyism. is that what we are talking about? >> i wish to god that donald trump would either read a book or watch a documentary on the it history channel. mccarthy used his committee as the chairman of a committee. the chairmanships are all controlled by republicans today. the democrats don't have the capacity to have a witch hunt. maybe he is just using it use familiaristicly, but donald trump seems to be confused about where the powers are in the united states. who can do investigation, how they can do investigations. he has the power to talk up to a
certain point to ask what information is out there, what information do you have related to people in this campaign. it's up to the justice department to clear that. >> i want to turn now to the allegations of russia's interference with the election. as an intelligence officer, former intelligence officer, what does that make you think of? >> i wrote a book about this called the plot to hack america about six months ago. it is very clear. my book is an exact alignment with the central intelligence agencies 23 september assessment. russia hacked the united states election by taking emails from the democratic national committee and using them as sort of a political warfare operation. not against the dnc or, you know, against the mindset of the american public.
this is called hybrid war. they did. they took a minor hillary clinton problem with emails and made it a massive -- the only thing the media talked about. that was done by a foreign intelligence agency, and there should be no one in this country who should think that that's okay. >> let me ask you this. if you were in the position to investigate that and all of that came out and would you try to pursue surveillance on trump and his associates in trump tower? >> it would have to go through the law. you want to go after the target that has been involved in operations which may compromise the security of the united states. if we receive information -- this is where allegedly the initial pfizer warrant came from, that's what we call it in our community. those tippers came from foreign intelligence agencies who had american citizens supposedly cooperating with no russian intelligence officers. that npsz is brought to the justice department. they get a warrant, and then the awesome power of the u.s. intelligence can go in and
verify or defeat that information. i would go after any american sit zblends that works hand in hand with a foreign administration to -- only a patriot would -- only a patriot would stand up for the united states, and there's a lot of people here right now i got to tell you, i'm wondering about their patriotism because they seem to want to corps this up as much and as quickly as possible zbroosh to get that warrant, you would have to have evidence. >> you have to have evidence, right? it you can't say you know what, joe blow, i think we should put aa tap on this guy or use nsa against this guy. no. there had to have been some evidence which was strong enough to convince the foreign intelligence surveillance court, and if the judge there says, whoa, you know, we have a u.s. citizen who may be directly in communications, may have had a face-to-face neegt e meeting, we have a telephone transcript that came from a third party intelligence agency. go find out what this is.
is he a spy or someone conducting criminal activity, which may get him into the highest levels of the white house? there's not a fieza judge out there that's not going to approve that warrant. >> malcolm nance arks i lot to think about. >> i hope i made you feel better. >> not much, but i appreciate it either way. nbc news has confirmed that president trump is expected on to sign it.
american islamic relations. even h ibrahim, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> let's start with the timing on this new order. it was supposed to come out a while ago. what do you make of the delay? >> i think the delay was just so he could have a bigger splash when he announces it. from that you see that it's completely political. it has nothing really to do with national security, with protecting our borders, anything of that nature. it's all political. even the dhs report that came out saying there's really no basis in national security for this ban. it's all political. it's pandering to the isl islamaphobic base, to those that are in the white house promoting this kind of islamaphobia, muslim ban. there's nothing to it but that. >> let me ask you this. one of the criticisms when it was first released and signed
was that it was done kind of happ haphazardly and resulted in lots of complications and now they're making sure that doesn't happen but without changing the is substance to it. is that what happened here? >> i this i what they did is they have taken the previous muslim ban, tweaked it to try and get around the court orders, and they are going to re-introduce it. it's be not based in reality. it's based in bigotry and politics. whatever they put forward, as steven miller said, it's the same thing. he admitted that it's basically the same thing they did before, that the courts blocked, so the court should block it again. the intent behind it is the same. block muslims from come to this country. that hasn't changed no matter what the wording of the new ban is. >> so the substance not really going anywhere. but there is word that the country of iraq might be removed
from the list of countries under a travel ban. what's your reaction to that? >> they may do that, but, again, i think it's just a way to tweak the original muslim ban to get around the court's ruling, and hope that they can push it forward. it doesn't have anything to do with our nation's security. it's just politics. it's just trying to fulfill the original muslim ban that trump announced more than a year ago, and all of his advisors who are part of this, who have authored it, have admitted that. that it is the muslim ban in a form that will sneak by the courts. >> ibrahim, what plans do your organization have, if any, to deal with this new order when it comes out? >> well, obviously we sued for the previous muslim ban. we'll look at the wording. we'll look at what's in this new one. even the ones who are offering
it are admitting it's the same thing with different language. i would assume our response will be the same as well. >> all right. ibrahim hooper, thank you very much for your time today. >> thank you. stay with us this evening for a special reairing of the rachel maddow show. she reports on a document obtained exclusively by the rachel maddow show that shows a national security justification for donald trump's travel ban not credible. that's coming up at 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. (vo) what if this didn't
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the 45th president of the united states accused the 44th president perform wiretapping his new york city home, donald trump has still offered no proof. a point made clear in newspaper headlines across the nation this afternoon. over the course of half an hour early this morning the president tweeted four tiemds his belief that mr. obama had ordered the bugging of his firms. that is not the only battle over secrets going on in washington this weekend. democrats and one prominent republican senator are accusing the gop of keeping the bill designed to repeal and replace the affordable care act under wraps. kentucky's rand paul used social media to search for the bill on capitol hill capitol hill thursday. his twitter feed showed notes placed under statues of ike orns like ronald reagan and abraham lincoln. democrats say republicans are playing hide and seek with the bill. with us now to lock at more of the wild weekend in plekz, we've
got kristen tate, a contributor for "the hill" and also democratic strategist emily tish-susman. thank you for joining me. kristen, i want to start with you first, and a bit of the pushback from president obama's own spokesperson who released a statement saying in part that "president obama nor my white house official ever ordered surveillance on any u.s. citizen and that any suggestion otherwise is false. what do you make of the -- >> we don't know what went on, but we need to be careful because the spokesman didn't say wiretapping didn't occur. what he said was that obama himself or the white house didn't directly order it. we don't have all the information, but i have been seeing a lot of reports that are kind of misconstruing that statement there. a senior u.s. official in a position to know says he and others have no idea what president trump is talking
about. why do you believe the president is making these allegations? -- i cannot pretend to do that. look, we do know that a rumor like this was publish the on breitbart, and then he tweeted right after which is very concerning if that's where he is getting his news, but that he is not even consulting with his own national security team before he makes huge statements that affects national security of the country. it is really only a matter of time before something he does gets the country either into very serious consequences in national security or potentially gets someone killed. he could potentially start a war. he has no idea what he is doing. >> i agree that ascribing to these tweets is a dangerous game. let me return to you, kristen. yesterday president trump tweeted a photo of senate minority leader chuck schumer
standing next to vladimir putin in a gas station in 2003, and he called for an investigation into democrats ties to russia. is the president trying to compare with an ambassador to a photo op that the press were invited to? >> i think that president trump was trying to prove a point. you know, a lot of this is just media narrative. you know, jeff sessions met -- he answered all the questions accurately. he listened to the questions that were asked of him. he was asked if he met with russian officials in relation to anything about the campaign. he said no. that's true. he met with this russian official in the capacity of a u.s. senator, so i think president trump is trying to make a point about the hypocrisy we're seeing on the left because, you know, many of them have also met with russian officials in their own capacities. >> he did also offer up to senator franken that he had no contact during the campaign with russian officials, which is really kind of the sticking point. >> in relation to the campaign, though. we don't know what he --
>> >> very good point. dwoent know what they spoke about in a totally private meeting. under no circumstances that it was 100% wrong. when the trip, in fact, was paid for by the campaign, and then he was there as an official with the armed services committee. that doesn't make any sense. in either case there's two separate inquiries. one is whether or not he met with russian officials during the campaign in a campaign capacity, and the second inquiry is actually whether he lied when he was testifying under oath. that is a separate inquiry. to conflat te the two is whethe this is a big deal. it is a big deal. i want to turn to the other big story, which is obama care. let me ask you this. these claims of hide and seek that are being lobbied. the chair of the weighs and means committee said this week we don't have a bill. we're continuing to work on the final product. why isn't there a bill at this point?
the committee members have said that they're still crafting this legislation. it will be made available shortly. this is just standard procedure. this is nothing unusual. >> also penalties for the uninsured, but one thing that all republicans can agree on is that obama care has been a disaster. premiums have doubled, insurers are fleeing many markets. one-third of u.s. counties now only have one available insurer providing coverage, and, of course, when the insurers leave the market, people lose their plan. we have to repeal and replace obama care, and it's going to require some compromise, and it's going to require republicans to come together. >> there are some republicans that have serious concerns on how that's going to happen, and
shouldn't they be looped in on this process? >> when they're done crafting the legislation. again, amendments will be made, and whatever amendments are made will determine who votes yes and no. they need 216 votes for it to pass. i want to stress that on obama care replacement, it will definitely push us towards a more privateized system. some parts of obama care will remain in place because people like certain parts of it. for example, coverage for the uninsured. sorry. preexisting conditions. also allowing parents to keep their children on their plans until they're 26. yes, parts of it will stay in place, and the best plan for all americans is probably going to be a plan that requires compromise. no one is going to be 100% happy. republicans like rand pail paul need to recognize that, and democrats need to recognize that too. >> keeping a bill under lock and key is not normal. that is by no means standard operating procedure. the thing that republicans have done now is they really have to
admit that they are under the burden of governing. they have painted themselves into a corner. to say that pieces of law will stay in place, that's not something that congressional republicans are saying. they're saying they're sticking to this promise they've made for the last seven years. they have to repeal the whole thing. they're hoping that democrats will be on the mound. republicans have to own the solution they're going for. >> the legislation is not completed. why would they make this public? why would they circulate it around when it's not completed? >> because that's the standard procedure. >> it will include certain parts that obama care also have. >> you may have seen a bill that rand paul -- >> you can exchange cell phones and talk about it later. kristen tate and emily, thank you both. >> thank you. >> that's it for us this hour here at msnbc. i'm stephanie gosk. we have much more. my colleague richard lui picks up the coverage after the break. ,
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