Day 7, Part 6: Stephen Castor presents Republicans’ report on impeachment inquiry Day 7, Part 6: Stephen Castor presents Republicans’ report on impeachment inquiryAll right what we’re going to do, but, let’s, let’s listen to German Adler, ranking member Collins members of the committee members of the staff. Thank you again for having me back give me the opportunity to testify about the evidence gathered during our at the outset. Let me say that the evidence does not support the allegations that my Democratic colleagues have made, and I don’t believe the evidence leads to the conclusion they suggest add some important perspective and context of the facts under discussion today. At the Democrats, impeachment and Curry has been trying to assess over the last 76 days is whether President Trump abused, the power of his office through a quid-pro-quo bribery, extortion or whatever, by withholding a meeting or security assistance, is a way of pressure Ukrainian president silinsky to Investigate the president’s political rival, former VP Biden, the president’s political benefit in the upcoming election secondary allegation that has been is whether President Trump obstructed Congress during the inquiry. Evidence support either of those allegations the Republican report of evidence, the reasons in more detail. But I will summarize, I will begin with the substantiv allegation about an abusive power. The inquiry has returned no direct evidence. The President Trump call meeting for security assistance in order to pressure president selenski to investigate former VP Biden, Earnest of criminal activity or even an impeachable offense. On the key question of the president state of mind, there is no clear evidence that President Trump acted with malicious intent overall, at best impeachment inquiry record is riddled with hearsay, presumptions and speculation. There are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout facts that could be interpreted in different ways to pair fries. To paraphrase Professor Turley from last week, the impeachment record is heavy on presumptions and empty on proof. That’S not me saying that that is Professor Charlie start with the best direct evidence of any potential quid pro quo or impeachable scheme. This is president call whit solensky for which the National Security Council and the White House Situation Room staff prepare to call summary. According to testimony from Tim Morrison at the NSC to summary was accurate and complete, see staff member Lieutenant, Colonel Alexander venneman testified missions in the summary were not significant and it was not done. Maliciously Trump has Declassified and release the call summary, so the American people can review it and assess it for themselves. I’Ll make a few points that seem to have gone under noticed. The call summary reflects apps no pressure or conditionality residential concerns with the subject matters discussed and there is no indication of bribery, Distortion or other illegal conduct on the call. The call summary shows President Trump and president selenski and engaged in pleasantries and cordialities. The cost summary review of laughter simply put the call is not the Sinister Mob Shakedown that some Democrats have described. President Trump raises concerns about European allies, paying their fair share and security text to Ukraine. A concern that President Trump would continue to raise both publicly and privately. There is no discussion on the call – I repeat, no discussion on the call about the upcoming 20/20 election security sector is assistance to Ukraine beyond the call summary, the next best piece of evidence are the statements from two participants on the call president salinsky has said he Felt no pressure on the call on September 25th at the United Nations. He said we had, I think, a good phone call. It was normal. Nobody push me on October. Sixth, president solinsky said I was never pressured and there were no conditions being imposed. Four days later, on October 10th, resident selenski set again there’s nothing wrong with a call, no blackmail. This is not corruption, it was just a call, and just recently, in Time Magazine president’s Wednesday said I never talk to the Press from a position of a quid-pro-quo, because president selenski would be the target of a quid pro quo scheme. His statements significant weight. She is, in fact the supposed victim hear. Other senior Ukrainian government officials confirmed president selenski statements, Barn minister go set on September 21st. I know what the conversation was about and I think there was no pressure Alexander Denny Luke was in Secretary of Ukraine, National Security and defense Counsel on the night of the call that the Ukrainian government was not disturbed by anything on. The call of course, is also said that he did not pressure president selenski. On September 25th, President Trump said there was no pressure to investigate the former VP, whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because corruption is massive, that’s what he should do. Several witnesses attesting to the president’s concerns about Ukrainian corruption. The July 25th call from both the Ukrainian government and the state department raised. No concerns buy National Security Council leadership. They were not shared by General Keith Kellogg, who listened on the call, lieutenant-general Kellogg said in the statement. I heard nothing wrong or improper on the cob I had and have no concerns. Lieutenant-Colonel venneman Superior to Morrison testified that he was concerned a call with leaf and be misused Washington’s political process, but he did not believe that anything discussed on the call was illegal or improper. Much has also been made about President Trump reference on the July 25th. Call to Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Tourism. Corrupt Ukrainian Energy company Democrats dismiss these comparison. Conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason other than his own political interest. The evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues. Respectable risma, Deputy assistant secretary George 10th, testified that the company had a rabbit fishing for corruption. The company was founded by mikolas ocheskey, who served as Ukraine’s minister of ecology and natural resources when Joe jet ski Prisma received oil exploration licenses without public auctions. R is Hunter Biden board of directors according to the New York Times as part of a broad fiber yzma. To bring a well-connected Democrats during a. When the company was facing investigations back not just by domestic Ukrainian forces but by officials in the Obama Administration. George Kent testified about these efforts, reportedly receive between 50000 and $ 83,000 a month as compensation for his position on Christmas bored. At the time that Hunter Biden joins aboard his father, the former VP was the Obama administration’s person for Ukraine Biden, his nose, the corporate governance expertise, and we don’t believe he speaks Ukrainian or Russian. We don’t believe he moved there so he’s getting this gigantic paycheck. For what the Washington Post Road and it looks nepotistic It Fast and The Washington Post said the Washington Post nefarious at worst according to the Wall Street Journal and teicher up activist in Ukraine also raised concerns that the former VP son receive money from Czar cesky and Worried that that would mean so cesky would be protected and not prosecuted Witnesses in the impeachment and Corey noted Hunter Biden’s roll on the board and a conflict-of-interest lieutenant-colonel women testified did Hunter Biden. Christmas board Witnesses testified that Hunter Biden is a role on the board. Was a legitimate concern to raise, in fact, Jorge explain that in 2015 to the office of former Vice President Biden, his role as board presented a potential conflict of interest. However, Hunter buttons role did not change, and Vice President Biden continue to lead us policy in Ukraine. On this record, there is a legitimate basis for President Trump to have concern about Hunter Biden’s roll under his board the prospect that some senior Ukrainian officials worked against President Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election drawers and even more visceral. For most Democrats, let me say very very clearly that election interference is not binary. I’M not saying it was Ukraine and not Russia. I’M saying that both Kris can work to influence an election. A systemic, coordinated Russian interference effort does not mean that some Ukrainian officials, some Indian officials, did not work to opposed President Trump candidacy did not make statements against President Trump during the election Volker testified in his public hearing that it is possible for more than one country To seek influence in US elections, Dr Hill testified. Likewise at her public hearing. Contemporaneous news articles in 2016 noted how President Trump’s candy Weider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before intervene. However, indirectly, in a u.s. election in August 26th, Ukrainian ambassador to the US published an op-ed in the hell criticising candidate Trump other senior Ukrainian officials called candidate Trump, a clown and other words they alleged that he challenged the very values of the Free World. One prominent Ukrainian parliamentarian explain that the majority of Ukraine’s political figures were on Hillary Clinton’s side. A January 2017 Politico article lays out in more detail efforts by the Ukrainian government officials to oppose President Trump’s candidacy. The article notes how you work to sabotage the Trump campaign by publicly questioning his Fitness for office. The article detailed how a woman named Alexandra chalupa are Ukrainian American contractor paid by the DNC, the DNC and the Clinton campaign, traded information and leaves about the Trump campaign. With the staff at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, chalupa explains how Ukrainian Embassy work directly with reporters Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry testified that the allegation of Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election was appropriate to examine testify allegations about 2016 influencer Ambassador Taylor said, for example, that The allegations surprised and disappointed him this record. I do not believe the President Trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by ukrainians to influence for the 2016 election. Let me now turn to the first assertion that President Trump was held a meeting with President selenski as a way of pressuring him to investigate the former VP. Here it is important to know Ukraine’s long, profound history of endemic corruption. Several witnesses in the in Korea testified about these problems. Ambassador Mari Ivanovic, for example, said Ukraine’s corruption is not just prevalence, but, frankly is the system. Witnesses testified to having first-hand knowledge that President Trump is deeply skeptical of Ukraine due to its Russian dating Back 2 years, and that this skip this contributed to President Trump’s initial hesitancy to meet with President selenski. Ambassador voelker testified. So I know he had a very deep-rooted skeptical View and my understanding at the time was that, even though he agreed in the meeting that we had with him today, okay I’ll invite him I’ll invite him he didn’t really want to do is okra said: that’s why The meeting kept getting delayed. Another relevant set of facts here is the effort of some Ukrainian officials to approach President Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 election. Some of these Ukrainian politicians initially remained in government when presidential he took over Witnesses testified that these Ukrainian efforts in 2016 color hell. President Trump viewed Ukraine for US policy makers, Ambassador Ivanovic called him an untried politician. Doctor Hill testified that there were concerns within the National Security Council about to Lansky’s relationship with Igor kolomoisky, a controversial oligarch in Ukraine. Although president selenski ran on a reform platform, resident selenski appointed call Moise Keys lawyer that your boat on as his chief of staff Johnson noted the disappointment raised concerns. These facts are important in assessing the president state of mind and understanding whether president selenski was truly committed to fighting corruption in Ukraine. The evidence shows the President Trump invited president selenski to meet at the White House on three separate occasions, all without any conditions. The first was on April 21st during the initial congratulatory phone call. The second was via letter on May twenty, this letter following Oval Office meeting on May 23rd, with the US delegation to the inauguration during this meeting President Trump against expressed his skepticism about Ukraine, Ambassador, volcker, recalled these are terrible. People and a corrupt country Ambassador testified that Ukraine, in the president’s view, tried to take them down. In the 2016 election, Senator Ron Johnson confirmed his testimony in his submission to the impeachment inquiry. Only the third time to President Trump invited zelenski to meet again without any preconditions: July 25th phone call, although sometime between May 2019, when the president in September 25th, when the president that the Ukrainian government felt additional pressure due to this delay, the contrary, Ambassador volcker, testified That the Ukrainian regime feel pretty good about its relationship with the Trump Administration in this.. During those four months, senior Ukrainian government officials had at least nine meeting or phone calls with President Trump vice-president Pence secretary Pompeo, National Security advisor Bolton and u.s. ambassadors. The evidence does support a conclusion that President Trump condition to meeting with President solensky on investigating former Vice President Biden in August 2019, New York, presidential meeting and investigations, witness testimony confirmed yarmak statement. Ambassador volcker testified. There was no linkage between a potential meeting and investigations blow and bassador Simon testified that he believed there was a quid pro quo. His testimony is not as clear as it has been portrayed in. His deposition Ambassador testified that he believed the meeting was conditions on app book anti-corruption statement. Investigations themselves, a distinction it during his deposition. He was Keen to note Ambassador silence heads in that nothing about the request raised any red flags. It is public testimony. Ambassador SoundLink clarified that he had no first-hand knowledge of any linkage coming from the president and never discussed any preconditions with the president. He nearly there were preconditions. I’D also like to address the July 10th meeting in Ambassador Bolton’s office with two senior Ukrainian officials. There is conflicting evidence about the facts. Both doctor Hill and lieutenant-colonel testified in Ambassador investigations. During this meeting causing Ambassador Bolton and meeting dr. Hill testified, she confronted him Pastor songland over his discussion about investigations. Lassiter someone’s testimony about this meeting, however, is scattered in his closed or deposition. He testify didn’t national security staff. Member ever once expressed concerns to him that he was acting improperly when he came here to testify in public. He acknowledged for the first time that he raised investigations, but he denied that the meeting ended abruptly. He maintained concerns to him and that any discussion of Investigations did not mention anything specific, such as Biden or 2016. Let me address the allegation. The President Trump directed vice president Pence not to attend president alinsky’s inauguration as another way of pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden. Jennifer, a senior advisor in the office of the vice-president testified that a colleague and she said it was Chief of Staff assistant, told her the cheapest assistant that President Trump and directed by it’s not to attend the inauguration. However, Williams had no firsthand knowledge of any such Direction were the reasons given for any such Direction. Such a direction was given it’s not clear from the hi. It was done because the vice president’s office was juggling other potential trips during that time, and Ukrainian Parliament, on an extremely short time frame. Williams, explained that there was a window. It was a window of dates May 30th through June 1st, during which the vice president could attend the inauguration and it was communicated and that, if it wasn’t one of those cold or impossible to attend the inauguration separately, the office of the vice president was also planning And unrelated trip to Canada to promote the usmca during the same window, the usmca was, and still is, a significant priority for the administration. Vice president Pence has done a number of public events in support of it. Trump was also planning foreign travel during this time. And does dr. Hill testified with President Trump, and vice president Pence cannot be out of the country. At the same time, Williams explain that these factors created a narrow window for the vice president’s participation in the inauguration. On May 16th, the outgoing Ukrainian Parliament schedule the inauguration for May 20th. Only four days later. May 20th was not one of the 3 days that vice-president Pence’s office provided for his availability Williams testify. Did this early date surprise the vice president’s office, because we weren’t expecting the ukrainians to look at that time frame. George at the state department said that this short notice from the ukrainians Forest Estates Apartment to scramble to find a Us official to lead the delegation. Finally, settling on Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on May 20th, the date of presidential inauguration vice president Pence was in Florida event promoting usmca. Finally, on September 25th, President Trump and president selenski met during the United Nations General Assembly without Ukraine ever taking action of Investigation and, according to Ambassador Taylor, there was no discussion of Investigations during this meeting. I will now turn to the second assertion that President Trump withheld taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine as a way of pressuring zielinski to conduct these investigations context is critically important. President Trump has been skeptical of foreign assistance in general and believes quite strongly that our European allies should share more of the burden for regional defense search. He made on the campaign Trail. Something he’s raised consistently sense in the past, for various reasons, and even for no reason at all. Vasa turbocor testified. The 55-day pause on security assistance did not strike him as uncommon and that the pause was not significant. Dr. Hill Estates, Kathryn Croft both testified that security assistance to Ukraine specifically had been temporarily pause in the past Pastor David Hale, the under Secretary of State for political Affairs. The third most senior person at the state department testify. Did the National Security Council launch to review of US foreign assistance across the world to make sure taxpayer dollars were spent in the National interest and to advance the principal burden-sharing by our allies. testified that as she was leaving the NFC in July, there had been a Directive for a whole scale review of our foreign policy assistance. She said there had been more scrutiny on security assistance as a result. Another important data point is President Trump’s willingness to take a stronger stance and supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression and and compared to the previous administration. Several witnesses testified the president willingness to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive assistance. Javelin anti-tank missiles was a substantial Improvement, a stronger policy and a significant decision. When we discussed Democrat President Trump withheld vital security assistant dollars from Ukraine. We should also remember that it was President Trump and not President Obama, Who provided Ukraine with Liesel defensive weapons, because there are Roman pieces of information that bear on how the house should view the evidence in question. Although the security assistance with Paul’s in July, the evidence is virtually silent on the definitive reason for the pot. In fact, the only direct evidence of the reason for the paws comes from OMB official Mark Sandy, who testified that he learned in September related to the president’s concern about other countries. Contributing more to Ukraine explained transfer information on what other countries were contributing to Ukraine, which showing be provided in the first week of September. 8Th of course was released September 11th. Several witnesses have testified investigations. Testimony is particularly relevant on this point because he was a key intermediary with Ukrainian government and someone who’s a trusted and sought for vice Ambassador Volker testified. He was aware of no quid pro quo. Such concerns to him when Ambassador Taylor raise the possibility of a quid-pro-quo to Ambassador Volker Volker said he replied during his deposition chairmanship, tried to pin him down this point, but it was clear there was no connection and its public testimony. Ambassador Volker reiterated. There was no linkage. Similarly, navigations relate Alabaster, Taylor, Morrison and Ambassador Simon also believed the two were not linked. If she already has it been more scattered in his deposition, he said he was never aware. Preconditions on security assistance supplementing is deposition, in which you explain for the first time that, in the absence of any clear explanation, he presumed a link between security assistance and anti-corruption State relax in his written supplement, and he likely voiced his concern., Mr yarmak, the closest advisor President to win ski I’m September, 1st in Warsaw, mr. yarmak, however, secret news account published on November 22nd disputed account and said he doesn’t remember any reference to the military and its public. Testimony Ambassador sound reiterated his testimony was based on a presumption acknowledging to Congressman Turner on the planet, told him that security assistance to Ukraine with conditioned on investigations, position a clear understanding that Ukraine would not receive the security assistance until president’s once he committed to the investigations. Testimony who is merely presuming that there was a link President Trump to rejected any linkage between security assistance to Ukraine and investigations. The president’s statements in this regard to be persuasive. He made the same statement in two separate private conversations with two different us officials 10 days. Apart, it would be no reason for the president to be anything less than candid during these private patients on August 31st, President Trump spoke by phone with Senator Johnson, who is traveling to Ukraine in the coming days and salt. The president’s permission to tell president that the security assistance would be forthcoming, not ready to do that, siding Ukrainian corruption in burden-sharing among European allies. When Senator Johnson raise the potential linkage between security assistance in investigation President Trump, any connection saying no, I would never do that. Who told you that I’m closing the call President Trump told Senator Johnson that we’re reviewing it now, referring to Discovery, assistance in and guess what? Probably like my final decision August 31st, this statement suggests that President Trump was already leaning for lifting the egg separately on September 9th President Trump’s, my phone with Ambassador Sunland senior Ukrainian government officials denied any awareness of a linkage between u.s. security assistance and investigations. One Security assistance would have been clearly communicated to the ukrainians. It’S almost never link security assistance to investigations said I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance, although there is some testimony that Ukrainian officials from the Embassy in Washington, state department and defense department about these issues with security assistance in July and August, The evidence does not show president selenski or senior advisers and key were aware of the pause until it was published, reported by Politico on August 28th of subsequent news. Article explain the conflicting testimony that Embassy officials in Washington had made informal inquiries about issues with senior officials denied awareness of the pause. The article explain issue with the 8th. According to the news account president dolansky and his senior team only learned of a pause when it was reported on August 28th, as Ambassador volcker testified because senior Ukrainian. Those were unaware of the pause. There is no leverage in five the actions of senior Ukrainian government officials, while the security assistance with paused reinforces a conclusion that they did not know was on in the 55 days during which the security assistance was paused. President selenski and five discussions with us senior officials on the July 25th, you spoke with President Trump on the phone July 2016 met with him master, tailor ambassadors Tomlin on August 27th September, 1st vice president pence in Warsaw and Senator Chris Murphy and cheese, and none of These meetings did President alaskey raise any concerns about linkage between security assistance and investigations, in particular, the September 5th meeting with Senator Johnson. Is there a part of the Trump Administration and president salinsky could be candid with them? What did occur during those 55 days? We’Re historic effort by Ukraine, Parliament called to implement anti-corruption reform. Vice president Pence said press presents Wednesday about these reforms during their September 1st meeting in their depositions Ambassador Taylor loud and presidents. Once he’s rapid reforms and National Security Council official Morrison testified that during meetings, they noted that everyone is exhausted. Cuz they’ve been up all night working on these reforms. On September 11th, Senator Portman Portman and acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney, according to Tim Morrison’s, testimony to discuss whether Ukraine’s progress on anti-corruption reform was enough to justify releasing the security assistance Justified. Vice-President Pence was obviously armed with the conversation he had with president president, including this point. We have considerable evidence that President Trump was skeptical of Ukraine due to its corruption. We have evidence. The president was skeptical of foreign assistance in general and he believes strongly. Our allies should share the burden for regional defense, who is reviewing foreign assistance in general. To ensure further, do I Centre and you’ll? Probably like my final decision, he told him on September 9th. I want zelinski to do what he ran on president was an untried politician with ties to a potential controversial oligarch. Vice president Pence reiterated president selenski that on September 1st, the need for reform with Paramount after presidential NC pause. I’M sorry after presents Wednesday, passed historic anti-corruption reforms, the pause on security assistance was lifted and the presidents met 2 weeks later. The Ukrainian government never took any action on investigations. An issue in impeachment inquiry has been made about a so-called Shadow or irregular foreign policy apparatus. The President Trump is alleged to have orchestrated as a mechanism to force Ukraine to initiate investigations. The allegation is President Trump conspired to recall ambassador jovanovic from Ukraine, so his agents could pursue a scheme to pressure Ukraine to conduct these investigations, but there are logical flaws with these arguments. Every Ambassador interviewed in the impeachment and Corey acknowledge the president has an absolute right to recall ambassadors for any reason or no reason apparent. The President Trump lost confidence in ambarsariya voinovich and it’s simply not an abuse of power him to recall her Beyonds at the Trump Administration replace Ambassador Evanovich with Ambassador Bill Taylor, who became one of the first State Department officials to voice concerns, discuss during the course of Our inquiry here bassador Taylor, played a prominent role in some of the hearings last month. If President Trump truly sought to remove Ambassador Evanovich is part of the nefarious plan, he certainly would not have replaced her with someone of the lights Ambassador Bill Taylor II, the three us officials who comprise the so-called Shadow foreign policy apparatus, Ambassador voelker, Sunland and secretary Perry – Can hardly be called your certainly not outlandish senior us officials with official interest in Ukraine policy, the three kept the state department and the NSC informed of their activities. Finally, there is evidence that marriage did not speak on behalf of the president. According to a news story, on November 22nd, Mr yarmak asked Ambassador Volker to connect him with mayor Giuliani, because this was surprised by the mayor’s negative comments about Ukraine. They wanted to change his mind, both Ambassador position and yarmak, and in August New York Times. Article did not get Mary Giuliani was speaking on behalf of President Trump as his agent. Instead, Ambassador Volker explained the Ukrainian government style Giuliani as a conduit through which they could change. The president’s mind demands for documents in testimony by somebody with experience with Congressional investigations and strongly, and I strongly believe in Congress is Article 1 Authority, but this impeachment Korea’s departed drastically pass bipartisan presidents for presidential impeachment, as well as the fundamental tenets of fair and effective Congressional oversight first process matters, the bipartisan guaranteed fairness and due process to the president, it aloud substantiv minority participation and participation from the president’s Council in the fact-finding process. Neither aspect was President here: Democrats denied us Witnesses. Democrats voted the issue for both documents and testimony and although Democrats never brought any of the subpoenas that were issue, they were all tabled. Democrats, the President should be allowed to raise the fences without adverse inference against courts of held at the Constitution, mandates and accommodations process between the branches. For this reason, Congressional oversight is a time-intensive. Endeavor only takes longer than 76 days here. However, the initial letters from the Democrats instructed potential witnesses that, if they did not cooperate in full, its shall constitute evidence of obstruction. Democrats want all their demands on her to me, has privileges or defenses. There is no basis for obstruction. The one witness who said he spoke to President Trump about his appearance as a witness justify the president told him to cooperate and tell the truth. The president has Declassified and released the call summary of is July, 25th and April 21st Whitehouse road to speaker Pelosi to say that it was willing to cooperate further if the house return to a well-established bipartisan constitutional faced impeachment process. As we know, these protections were never reported in closing I’d like to briefly address the Democrats. Narrative is articulated in the report. The Democrat narrative virtually ignores any evidence. It’S not helpful for their case ignores, for instance, that about your son was testimony that he presented. If there was a quid pro quo and it ignores, the report presents a story as if the evidence hear when in reality it’s anything but Democrats have gone to Great Lengths to gather information to build their case and they’ve even obtained and released phone records relating to The communications of the president’s personal attorney, a reporter and a member of Congress. There are just no phone records that have not yet been released and our members remain concerned about the prospect of more phone record being released. There have been a lot of stereo to last 3 months about this inquiry and underlying facts. I believe a lot of this can be traced back to the anonymous whistleblower complaint. I believe the Whistleblower refrained a lot of the fact that issue and caused Witnesses in the inquiry to recast are views, and it’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to interview The Whistleblower finally agree to a special prosecutors investigation. One except Harrison. One should also expect. Like 10 * and & Robert Mueller, the chairmanship testify and our our members all the committee’s believe very strongly. That chairmanship should testify answer question. House Intelligence Committee senior investigative counsel Stephen Castor presented the Republicans’ impeachment inquiry report at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, December 9. He said the record is filled with “conflicting and ambiguous facts” that “could be interpreted in different ways” and do not justify the impeachment of President Trump.
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