tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN August 19, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
it's a very self-competing thing. now that he's isolated in the white house without really friends in congress, really no friends in the business world, how is he going to accomplish anything? of greater concern for all of us is, how is the government to function? you know, how can we rely on stability in our government when he doesn't seem to be able to move in any direction successfully. >> all right, michael, thank you as always for joining us. >> thank you, ana. you're in the cnn newsroom, thank you so much for staying with us. up first on this saturday, thousands of counter demonstrator emerging on boston overshadowing the free speech rally, a week after the racial violence in virginia. boston police say today's march and rally were mostly peaceful other than occasional clashes
and shouting matches that took place, some of which are continuing right now. we'll head to the streets of boston for live reports in a moment. president trump tweeting about the protesters today, initially writing, looks like many anti-police agitators in boston. police are looking tough and smart, thank you. moments later, he tweeted, great job by all law enforcement officers and boston mayor walsh. he went on to tweet, i applaud protesters in boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. our country will soon come together as one. let's bring in cnn correspondent in boston for us, first, i know you have been witnessing a little of an altercation where you are. talk to me about what you're seeing right now and what you've been witnessing unfolding in the past several minutes. >> we're having problems with the audio. let's go to sarah and hear what you're seeing and hearing on the
ground where you are, and talk to us about bigger picture as well so the police largely were happy with how things went today. >> reporter: we have to point out the fact that he's standing on one end of the street, we are on the other, and, yes, things got heated. there was a police wagon, someone was detained earlier. interesting tactic that police are using right now. basically, they are going in mass, assessing the crowd, and then if there's some sort of clash, they move in very quickly, but then they move out. that's what happened here. they have been moving away from the crowds as long as things are peaceful. so we saw a large number of police officers here wearing gas masks, for example, just a few moments ago, and then as the crowd calmed down, they walk away and left and went back to another area. as of right now, it's seemingly a small area, temple and freemont and washington and
freemont there's a macy's store. some of the protesters are left, the media. the state house is behind that tree. we'll get you a picture of that as well. it gives you a sense of where this is happening, boston commons just down there where the rally was and counter protest was as well. very large police presence. they are coming in and out, so there's not really anybody to protest against for some time, and that's how the crowd has been calmed down. there is, of course, the city known for racial tendencies, known for historical incidence with race including what happened some time with the boston games, right, so i think there's a lot of people here who have a lot of different ideas about things that need to change. that's why you are seeing the folks left over. i want you to hear from the police commissioner talking about the fact they were about 40,000 people who showed up, most of them counter protesters. 27 arrests. this is what he had to say.
>> 99.9% of the people came out for the right reason, to fight bigotry and hate here today. we knew we would have people causing problems, and we had to make the latest, 27 arrests so far today, most of them disorderly, a couple assault and batteries on police officers and other charges, but overall, i thought we brought the first amendment people in, we got them out, and, you know, no one got hurt, no one got killed, and we don't have a lot of problems. in fact, we have no significant at all property damage to the city. great day for the city. >> reporter: that was earlier today. that was the police commissioner talking about his feelings on what happened with so many people here and with only 27 arrests. they do also bring up in talking to the folks out here for much of the day protesting, some of them said they were a little disappointed that there were
more arrests later on p in the day. they were hoping that things would end peacefully, but they wanted to make a point, a point that thousands of people showed up to fight against racism, to fight against leftism and right supremacy, and they wanted to show the world that's what boston is all about. >> i know there were concerns initially that some of the people who were at that rally in charlottesville, people connected to the kkk, white supremacy groups, and other hate groups would show up today to the so-called free speech rally. did you see any sign of people like that? >> reporter: look, there were a small group of people that were here to take part in the rally. police made sure that at some point they were moved out of the way. i mean, they are far outnumbered by the thousands of people here protesting against them, and the people that were in that rally said, look, we are here, we are not racist. we're not for white supremacy, but free speech. reaction being that people here are, like, well, look, if they spew hate speech, we want to
show them we're against that in whatever form necessary. there's a few groups leftover, a small number of people leftover, but mostly it's peaceful again. >> thank you. near richmond, virginia today, meantime, a state policeman lost his life supporting police in last week's rally laid to rest. this was the public memorial service this morning. he and the state police pilot were killed saturday when their police helicopter crashed in a wooded area near charlottesville. virginia's governor spoke at the service. >> today, we lost a member of our family. dorothy and i are heart broken. it'll never be the same when i step into that helicopter and not see jay in that front right seat with cullen on the back of his helmet. >> i want to bring in republican congressman scott taylor of
virginia. congressman, wow, what a week for your state, for our nation, have the president's comments in the wake of charlottesville eased racial tensions in your state? >> well, thanks for having me this afternoon. it's good to be with you, and, obviously, my sympathies from the troopers and heather's family as well. you know, look, i've been very clear the president, i think, had a strong conference first and then the last conference, you know, i've been very clear, i did not agree with it. i came out opposing what he said. that being said, i've heard things from the other side as well, too, that i don't agree with. i think that everyone, whatever platform you have, whether you're in the media -- starts at the top, let's say that first and foremost with the president, but other politicians, politics, it begins with unity, not politics. that's very dangerous, and, obviously, everyone in my state, vast majority of people in my state, black, white, broup, awny
want unity and not violence and move together as a nation. >> what about the president's tweets about boston? calling protesters anti-police agitators. he later said he applauds them, but the initial response. >> i did not see that, but as the mayor said, not the mayor, but head of the police in boston said that 99.9% of the protesters out there were peaceful. i did see that. you said earlier the president came back to say thank you to the folks who are out there supporting and speaking out against hate, so as i said, i think the rhetoric on both sides should not be an issue that you should be trying to gain political -- >> what's the other side? i'm trying to figure that out. when you say both sides, be clear after everything that's unfolded. >> sure. the other side that i'm speaking about specifically of democrat politicians, in my state as well too, republican politicians, i think in both sides, meaning
republican and democratic politicians and leaders, should be speaking with rhetoric of unity opposed to divisiveness. i've heard divisive comments and critical of the president as well too. >> right. >> for now, the nation, we have to espouse rhetoric that's one of unity. >> you have said this week you believe the president showed failure in leadership, but now one of your republican colleagues took it a step further, actually questioning president trump's mental stability. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. he also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of the nation. >> so americans hear the talk, where is the action? what are you planning to do? >> where's the action in terms
of what? >> in terms of making sure that the president does get right on -- on the right side of history. >> well, it's pretty clear when you have folks of your own party coming out and speaking out saying, listen, you know, this ship needs to be turned, rhetoric tamped out or changed. that's a lot of pressure. i mean, that's a lot of pressure, so, you know, i expect you'd see some changes, i'm hopeful you will, that you'll see, you know, again, but i, you know, i want to speak out against politicians on the democratic side as well in taking advantage of a tragedy, quite frankly, for political gain. i think that both parties, starting with the president at the top, as well as all of us, myself included, put myself in there as well too, need to be espousing rhetoric to calm tensions, unity, not tribal, racial, which are dangerous, around the state and my state as well.
>> democrats are planning to introduce a formal resolution to censure the president over the remarks. this is an official rebuke from congress of the president's remarks. do you support that? >> i don't support that. i don't -- i've been clear of my thoughts on this network, numerous times. i don't support them putting articles of impeachment and other things there. they have been doing that the whole time -- >> but if you think the president's -- >> let me finish my sentence please. >> go ahead. >>. in congress since january, and every thing that comes up whether he's a traitor in russia, a racist, every single day they put taxes, whatever it might be, they are putting those articles of impeachment, political, divisive, completely political. i don't support that. i've been very clear that i was critical of the president about what he said, you know, on this network, but, again, i think it's to use these issues as a political means to gain
advantage i think is wrong. >> you obviously need the president to accomplish the republican agenda. is that impacting pushback against the president or fear of the president and allies coming after members of congress personally? >> i can only speak for myself, zero fear of anyone coming after me of doing what i was elected to do, republican or democrat. i'm not worried about that. sure, we need the president to pass our agenda. democrats, remember, democrats, if they want to get anything done, they need the president as well too. all i heard on that side is a lot of stuff that's hot air, nothing substantive. personally, every single bill i introduced in the congress has a democratic cosponsor. i like to get things done, so, sure, we need a president, both of us, republicans and democrats, to move forward. >> confederate statues are being defaced or removed throughout the country. there's problems, debate, and violence, unfortunately, regarding those, vandalism.
after what happened in your home state, where do you stand on the issue of the statues, whether they stay or go? >> well, you know, i stand in the same spot the african-american mayor of richmond said, leave the history there. driving up here, there was monuments to the war dead, battle feels, statues, just driving up virginia, it's pervasive in our state. i stand where he stands where he says, lead them, but teach the context. maketure the history is completely known. i think whether you look for social justice, racial justice, economic opportunity, just removing statues does not do anything about it. look, i think that we need to choose the direction, we need to move in as a nation, and that should be one again of unity and not of divisive identity politics and quite frankly, vandalism in some respects. if there has to be localities that need a conversation of what they want to do with the statues, then, okay, have the conversation, but do so in a civil manner.
don't use it as political means to pass the agenda. that's the wrong message for america. we have very layered history. it's very imperfect, but one of the great things about this country, of course, is the fact that we can make a more perfect union as opposed to most countries around the world, and that's something, obviously, that i'm proud of and support. >> congressman scott taylor, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you for having me. coming up, the controversy surrounding the removal of confederate statues around the country, some of the direct descendents speak out about what they think should happen to the statues. you're live in the cnn newsroom. . affecting my good credit score. i see you've planted an uncertainty tree. chop that thing down. the clarity you seek... lies within the creditwise app from capital one. creditwise helps you protect your credit. and it's completely free for everyone. it's free for everyone? do hawks use the stars to navigate? i don't know. aw, i thought you did. i don't know either.
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>> reporter: not only a tense moment witnessed, but a powerful one we just witnessed moments ago which police superintendent here in boston -- by the way -- in the crowd now speaking to the counter demonstrators connected with the crowd, speaking to them very quickly, deescalating what could have before a dangerous situation. listen to a small portion of the conversation that he had with what is a significant crowd here in the heart of downtown boston. as we work to try to get that for you, i doment menwant to s we heard. basically applauded efforts of the demonstrators, protesters, and he was -- in his own words, proud of what he saw today, and as we heard from the police commissioner earlier today, boston came together, essentially, and stood up against fascism and hatred. these are the words we heard from police officials here, and only about an hour or so after we heard from the police
commissioner saying today was a good day for boston, yes, here, there was a tense confrontation with law enforcement, but police superintendent gross came into the crowd to speak to the demonstrators, so, again, that's some of the positive things seen here on the streets, already four hours after the so-called free speech rally was held, and still people on the streets and those conversations, those peaceful conversations are happening. >> that's great to hear. we heard from the police commissioner, from the mayor a couple hours ago. they estimated some 40,000 people turned out today. >> reporter: right. >> how many people are on the ground now? are most are the protesters gone, or are people sticking around? >> reporter: people are still sticking around. it is obviously a much smaller crowd than what we witnessed today. you heard from officials earlier today, there were tens of thousands of people who were not only in boston common, but on the streets of boston itself, especially when the two demonstrations merged together against what was possibly
several dozen individuals, these so-called freedom of speech dmon straight demonstrators, so, yes, there is a heavy police presence here, but you're able to see some of the police supervisors, top officials are on the ground speaking to folks, making sure that things stay relatively safe as they have. most of the day except for, as police described, a few troublemakers. >> all right, thank you. another statue dedicated to a civil war general has been taken down. this one on campus of duke university. someone already vandalized the statue of robert e. lee days ago, it was ordered to be removed from view, but preserved for historical purposes. i want to bring in john, and thank you for spending time with us. do statues of civil war figures belong in public or in a more historical academic setting?
>> well, it comes to the question of what is statue is for. if the purpose of the statue is to hold people up as an ideal role model, that's clear that no confederate memorial achieves that aim. anyone who fought for confederacy cannot be an ideal role model. question is can we put these memorials in context. context requires understanding that the people who put -- that the memorials probably say more about the people who put them up than about what -- than who they were supposed to memorialize, so that tells us about people in the late 19th and 20th century. >> general lee, opposed to creating war memorials. why? >> after the civil war, he got a number of requests from people interested in building memorials, and sometimes he said he thought people of the south were too poor after the war to afford to build me morals or worried that would anger
victorious federals. he seemed to suggest never build memorials. that the countries that do not preserve reminders of strife move on quicker from strife. >> and you wrote in an op ed putting it this year, least feared reminders of the past reserve fierce passions for the suture. such emotions threaten his vision for a speedy reconciliati reconciliation. he said statues are divisive? >> it's hard to take a figure from the 19th century to apply to the 21st century, but i think i would guess it would be best to remove the statues and do away with the controversy. he really did want to put the civil war behind him. he had no nostalgia for what happened. >> let's look at when some of the confederate statues and
memorials were created. as you said earlier, it says more about who put them up than who they are of. a lot went up in the not so distant past, civil rights era or jim crowe, what was the intent of putting them up? >> right. i think with the robert e. lee statues, that's intent to glorify the cause that the south fought for in the civil war and really is hiding what the real cause of the civil war, of course, slooavery, and so if we put memorials into context, that requires understanding that the people who put them up may have had ugly history. we have to understand that history. >> author of the man who would not be washington, robert e. lee, civil war, and the decision that changed american history. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, a photo shows just how many people had left trump's iner circle in the past seven months. what's the departure mean for the future of the white house as
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one that keeps you connected to what matters most. another staff shakeup in the white house. steve bannon the last in the latest to be shown the door. the exit comes seven months after the president took the oath of office. sources say bannon believes he put pieces in place for the agenda to live on without him in the white house. what are we hearing now from bannon an the exit?
>> hey, there, yeah. we finally heard from president trump today on the firing of his former chief strategist at the white house, steve bannon, tweeting earlier today, here's the first one he sent out, writing, quote, i want to thank steve bannon for his service, coming to the campaign in my run against crooked hillary clinton. it was great. a few hours later, he went on to tweet this, steve bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at breitbart news, fake news needs the competition. we have not heard from steve today, but yesterday he told "washington examiner" that the trump presidency we fought for and won is over. that led to speculation he might train the weapons against the administration that dismissed him, however, cnn heard from several people close to steve saying focus is not on attacking donald trump, but rather the
establishment as per usual. >> there's been fallout still, today, the latest, coming from the center over the comments about hate filled violation in charlottesville. tell us about that. >> that's right. earlier today, we heard from the white house announcing the president and first lady would not be taking part in the annual kennedy center honors this year. this marks only the fourth time a sitting president is going to be skipping this event, and in part, that statement attributed president's absence from the event to trying to spare the honorees, quote, political distraction. despite that, honorees already went political, even before the backlash of the president's comments regarding charlottesville. several of them, including li e lionel richie would boycott a
reception at the white house that takes place before the kennedy center honors awards. in part, the kennedy center said in a statement they were grateful that the president took this step to try to keep the dignity of the event at its standard and avoid, again, distraction. >> all right, boris sanchez, thank you. in the wake of the president's response to the violence in charlottesville, i silt down with a holocaust survivor and get his reaction to the neonazis marching and chanting in the streets of charlottesville. you are live in the newsroom. ♪ ♪ it feels good to be back. ♪ ♪
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showed up to rally in charlottesville. >> jews will not replace us. jews will not replace us. >> i sat down with the former director of the antidefamation league, a holocaust survivorings and i asked him what was it was like to see and hear that in year 2017. >> i don't think i believe that i would ever in my lifetime witness this kind of manifestation out of nazi hatred in the united states. what made it worse is the president of the united states
rationalized it. was unable, unwilling to condemn it for what it is for the antisemitic racist hatred. >> he said -- >> i don't know -- he's equivoca equivocated, gone all over the place. i've been involved with the antidefamation leagues for 50 years. i know hatred, i follow hatred, i know there's hatred in the country. i know there's racism. i know there's anti-semitism. it's not a complete shock. what came as a shock is their arrogance. you know, the hate groups in our country for many years were in the shadows, hiding their identity. to see them proud, they were so emboldened with their hatred. they wanted you to hear them. they wanted you to see them, to be intimidated. that was the scary part. >> do you get the sense they feel that what they believe and what they are saying is somehow in some twisted way socially acceptable? >> yes. i think they feel end bombolden
the last election because some of the themes they have for differences is antiimmigrant, xenophobic, this is part of the social discourse in the country. in the last campaign when the president ran for office, he destroyed all the taboos. you want to be a bigot, our constitution allows you to be a bigot in your head, heart, home, but when you act it out, that's a consequence to pay. this breaks every taboo. there's no consequences. so the people in charlottesville, the bigots feel they are emboldened. it's okay now to publicly demonstrate. >> but now we have the cover of "time" magazine, the new cover, you see a person draped in an american flag doing the nazi salute. what would you tell the president? what would you advise him to bring unity? >> well, i'll tell ya, i would
have advised his daughter and son-in-law to walk into the office or the residence with a copy of the video, close the door, and say, dad, this will impact on your grandchildren who are jewish. you need to say something, not from the prompter, but the heart. >> we have not heard anything from them. we did see a couple tweets from ivanka after the accident happened, but since the president made remarks, they have been silent, and we know other members of the team are jewish, and have also been silent. are you surprised? >> well, we have to be careful here. they are americans who happen to be jewish. they're not in the white house because they are jewish. >> exactly. >> they are not there as jews, she is there because she's his daughter. we have to be careful how we
focus on them. the fact they are jewish, their antenna, like mine, quiver when they see nazis, most don't, we love our people, but what i expect him to do -- i don't think he should resign. i think they should -- we should hear their voice. now, if he fires them, that's something else, but, yeah, i think there's -- every american should speak out. >> would you like to have a conversation? >> absolutely. absolutely. >> i know you spoke with past administrations. >> i know her for many years, different contexts. >> this president? >> this president. >> you've met him before? >> first time i met him was 30 years ago on the issue of anti-semitism. >> really? tell us about that. >> yeah. he was having trouble building in palm beach. they didn't want him for all sorts of reasons like they didn't think he was part of the society they wanted. there was obstacles. he held a press conference. he said, i'm not getting the
permits because of anti-semitism. >> what? >> the antidefamation league was called, what do you think, and the director said that's nonsense. >> what did he mean by that? >> so we criticized him, and i got a call saying from some of his friends, well, you meet with donald. he's upset at the antidefamation league. i said okay. we had breakfast at the plaza. he came late. that was tactic. walked in, trump, foxman, never apologized. that was the hello, good morning. trump, i didn't ask for this meeting, you asked for it. breakfast, chatted, very charming. he said, who is this guy who criticized me? the guy works for me. how dare he say that. i said, donald, if i had a press conference on real estate values, you'd say, who is this guy? what's he know? you say anti-semitism, but this is all --
all he said to me, a, all my members are going to be jewish. donald, that's anti-semitism. i learned 30 years ago this man can't take criticism and won't apologize. you know what? he has not change the one bit. >> the fact he was fixated on anti-semitism, you don't believe that he is antisemitic in any w way, do you? >> i don't believe he's a racist, no. it's all about trump. the countresendo is growing, pe are standing up, and one by one, that's the beauty. surviving the holocaust, i don't have the right to be a pessimist. i'm a realistic optimist. i've seen ugliness, and yet, i'm here because there was a woman, one woman, who risked her life to save me.
so i know in every individual there is this possibility of goodness. i still believe of this e epiphany. >> what does the president need to say? >> he needs to say i made a mistake, something i'm not sure he's capable of doing. he needs to apologize, not from prompters, but from his gut. he needs to fix it because he -- he's part of the reason we're in this mess now of giving and emboldening nazis and bigots to say, this is our message, it's out there, it's legitimate. we have to make it ill-legitimate again. coming up, amid violence protests, what do those in front of president trump's base make of the president's reaction to the charlottesville attack? we'll discuss next. you're live in the cnn newsroom. step one. point decisively with your glasses. abracadabra!
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thousands of people marched through the streets in boston tea, a small portion of protesters there for a free speech rally, majority there to counter them, a week after the deadly racial violence erupted in virginia, and i want to bring in cnn critter and author of "hill billy-ology," i want your reactions, today, boston, a different picture than what we saw in charlottesville a week ago. how do you think people in the rust belt, those rust belt voters who supported president trump are seeing these events? >> well, i think there are two separate take aways, so the
first is that compared to charlottesville, you obviously had a peaceful protest, and those people behaved. there were, i think, about two dozen arrests, so the second piece of it is that even a relatively peaceful protest in this incredibly charged climate we have still had some violent, sglrchlts so i think that this doesn't gather a lot of headlines in the rust belt. this isn't going to change the conversation a ton in one direction or another. i say to myself, if this is a relatively peaceful protest where you have the boston police department saying don't throw things at us and you have 27 people arrested we are living in a precarious time in the country. >> last hour i spoke with trump's biographer. he writes trump has rarely traveled outside of the states he considered his political
base. the president has shown he would rather frighten his fellow americans and degrade the nation standing in the world than admit he is mistaken. j.d., is president trump reflecting the fears of his voters or creating them? >> well, i think it is tough to say. obviously, people follow their political leaders. so in some ways, the president is creating the narrative, but it is definitely the case that he's also responding and as an instinct view of what his base is feeling. when you look at the polls and the response the folks have had to the reaction of what happened in charlottesville, i was critical to the president. i thought he could have done more to unite the country. but if you holook at how peoplen the ground felt, there was a massive wedge between how the media and folks were perceiving the problem and on the other hand how his base was perceiving the particular reaction to charlottesville. so in some ways i saw it as
another depressing example of the fact that we very often live in two separate countries, and those parts of our country aren't especially good at talking to each other. >> why is that? >> well, it's tough. i don't think there is unfortunately there isn't a very easily answer. part of it is just that you have people that are living in very geographical isolated places. if you live in washington, d.c. or new york city, you probably know very few people who voted for donald trump. on the other land, if you live in an area of the country like southwestern ohio where 80% of the populus voted for donald trump, it is very possible you don't know a whole lot of hillary clinton voters. i think in that world it is easy to caricature the other side. unfortunately, it is difficult to have a conversation or understand what's driving how those people think. >> there is that echo chamber effect. i want to turn to steve bannon, now the president's former chief
strategist. he was viewed at the head of the trump movement. now he's gone. he's declared the initial movement trump was elected on to be over. is this a betrayal of what trump supporters thought they were getting? >> well, i don't think it's a betrayal of what trump supporters thought they were getting just because most people don't pay attention to white house staffing decisions and probably most of them don't care which person is in and which person is out. i will say a couple of things. the first is that it does add to the general sense of chaos, the fact you had so many high level advisors and now leave the white house. but there is a more interesting question about steve bannon's role or lack of a role in the white house over the next two years because if you think about who really composes the president's inner circle, gary cohen, jared kushner, ivanka trump, steve bannon was the one
person who really had this connection to the populus conservative movement that donald trump capitalized on. i do think it is going to be interesting to see whether steve bannon can influence the white house from the outside. and if he doesn't, if he can't have that influence, then he may very well go to war with the president who he helped elect. >> right now he's saying he's going to go to war for the president. you know, you talked about the influence that some of these people have on the president and his base and, yet, there was some polling out this week that showed six in ten of trump supporters that there is nothing this president could do that would make them disapprove of the job he is doing as president. so when we look at his administration and, really, it hasn't accomplished a whole lot so far. he has failed to follow through on a lot of his promises. obamacare hasn't been repealed, replaced. mexico hasn't paid for this border wall. what do his supporters want most
from the president now? >> it is important to keep in mind that the 24 hours news cycle is driven by a different time line than the average voter on the street. i think a lot of folks are still staying loyal to their man. they're happy that you have seen some increased immigration enforcement and a drop in illegal immigration in the country. so that's obviously something that makes them happy. but you're right that if nothing happens over the next few years that if there isn't some significant reform packages put in place, if we don't make progress on health care or further progress on reforming the immigration system, i do think the president is eventually going to lose that support. but i also think that it's important to keep in mind that the average donald trump voters isn't asking themselves every week, has something happened this week that's going to cause me to abandon the president. they're looking at this thing over a slightly longer time. >> thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, the latest from the large anti-racist protests in boston and around the
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