NYT’s Maggie Haberman Ensnared In Feud Over Trump Inaugural Funds

Melania Trump with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff

In case you missed it, the Trump inaugural saga has taken a new, and very interesting twist lately, with now Twitter-active Stephanie Winston Wolkoff taking a direct shot at Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel of the New York Times(NYT), as being part of the plot to throw her under the bus.

You’ll remember that after the bombshell revelation that a staggering $40 million of Trump’s inaugural funds had mysteriously disappeared, there was an effort by Trump’s allies to pin the blame on then First Lady Melania Trump’s Senior Advisor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Stephanie Wolkoff talked about this effort to throw her under the bus at an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show on September 1, 2020.

In the interview, a visibly upset Stephanie Wolkoff told host Maddow, that then First Lady Melania Trump basically told her she had to be the fall person for the Trump inaugural scandal. Wolkoff specifically said, “Melania and the [Trump]White House had accused me of criminal activity, then publicly shamed and fired me, and made me their scapegoat. At that moment in time, that’s when I pressed record. She was no longer my friend, and she was willing to let them take me down, and she told me herself, that this is the way it has to be. She was advised by the attorneys at the White House that there was no other choice because there was a possible investigation into the presidential inauguration committee….At first I really did think maybe she would come to my aid? Maybe she would tell the truth? She turned her back, she did. She folded like a deck of cards., and I’m shocked she did it.”

This 05/23/2021 tweet however, shows that Stephanie Wolkoff is not only going after Trump and his allies in her effort to set the record straight regarding Trump’s inaugural, she’s also calling out NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel, as being part of the plot to destroy her. This, if proven, could turn out to be a huge scandal unto itself, given the fact that many liberals still blame the New York Times for Trump’s ascension to the White House. Specifically, many liberals believe NYT’s excessive coverage of the “email scandal”, weakened Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the final stretch of the 2016 campaign.

There’s no other way any reasonable person can interpret Stephanie Wolkoff’s tweet other than NYT’s Haberman and Vogel were doing Trump’s bidding when they wrote the referenced piece. This is especially so considering Wolkoff’s invocation of “SETUP. COVERUP. TAKEDOWN” in her tweet. For the record, accusations of “access journalism” against then White House reporter for the New York Times, Maggie Haberman, persisted throughout Trump’s presidency. Stephanie Wolkoff is not the first person drawing that inference.

Bottom line folks, Yours Truly is not accusing Maggie Haberman or Ken Vogel of any wrongdoing. By all accounts, these are serious journalists, who exhibit a high level of professionalism(my personal opinion). What Yours Truly is simply pointing out, is what any reasonable person presented with Stephanie Wolkoff’s recent tweet would conclude, and that is, Haberman and Vogel were in on the plot by Trump’s allies to throw her under the bus. It would be in everybody’s interest, especially Wolkoff who suffered greatly as a result of the Trump inaugural saga, if Haberman, Vogel or even the New York Times management, addressed this issue.

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Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Calling For A $10 Trillion Over 10 Years Infrastructure Plan

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) On The Rachel Maddow Show (03/31/2021)

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared on the 03/31/2021 edition of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(TRMS), to discuss the $2 trillion infrastructure plan President Biden had announced earlier the same day. Rep Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC), told host Maddow that her Progressive colleagues in the House will “absolutely” push for a figure higher than the $2 trillion set out by President Biden, adding that her personal preference would be a $10 trillion over 10 years infrastructure plan.

AOC’s full interview on TRMS is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Specifically, AOC told Maddow in response to a question as to whether Progressives in the House will push for a figure bigger than $2 trillion: “Absolutely. You know if we could wave a magic wand, and Progressives in the House were able to name any number and get it through, which obviously isn’t the case, but if we are looking at ideals and what we think is the actual investment that can create tens of millions of good union jobs in this country, that can shore up our healthcare, our infrastructure, our housing, and doing it in a way that draws down our carbon emissions to help us get in line with IPCC standards, we are talking about realistically, $10 trillion over 10 years.” AOC added that even though $10 trillion is an “eye popping” figure, it is not in any way unrealistic.

Basically, AOC’s message on TRMS was that even though House Progressives are very appreciative of President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, they are looking at the $2 trillion as a starting point, and not necessarily the ceiling. Progressives in the House will work hard for a higher figure. This promises to be quite an interesting battle in Congress, especially given the fact that in the recently passed American Rescue Plan(Covid), House negotiations began at $1.9 trillion and worked their way downwards. It appears for infrastructure, the House negotiations will begin at $2 trillion and possibly end up much higher. Will AOC’s $10 trillion wish come true? Hmm–time will tell.

Bottom line folks, as AOC correctly pointed out, if one considers the fact that for covid relief, Congress passed a one year $1.9 trillion package, it is not unreasonable to assume that for an infrastructure plan, we would need much more than the $2 trillion proposed by President Biden. It is a good thing that AOC threw the $10 trillion figure out there because it will inspire some imagination among House Democrats as to what’s possible–thinking big. Simply put, even though passing a “skinny” infrastructure plan is better than no infrastructure plan at all, House Democrats should not look at President Biden’s $2 trillion proposal as a limiting factor, but instead, like AOC, come up with their own imaginative ideas as to how to revamp our dilapidated infrastructure. All in all, let there be a robust infrastructure debate in Congress, and may the best ideas win.

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Fulton County DA Getting Racist Attacks After Launching Probe Into Trump’s Phone Call

Fulton County DA (Georgia) Fani Willis On The Rachel Maddow Show (2/11/2021)

Fulton County DA Fani Willis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that after her office launched a criminal probe into former President Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, she has been the subject of racist attacks from Trump’s supporters. You’ll remember Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, was very troubled by the call from the former President, which was essentially urging him to commit an illegal act, that he asked his staff to record it. It is quite clear from the phone call that former President Trump wanted Raffensperger to tinker with Georgia’s election results, so as to overturn his Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s win.

In response to Maddow’s question as to whether she and her staff were concerned about their safety given the unfortunate events of DC insurrection, DA Willis responded, “Oh absolutely. Since we’ve opened this [criminal probe], my security has doubled. We’ve gotten a lot of comments. Interestingly enough, the comments are always racist, and it’s really just a waste of time and foolishness. It is not going to stop me from doing my job, and I don’t think that it is an insult to remind me that I am a Black woman, so it is a waste of their time….” The rest of DA Willis’ interview with Maddow is available here.

It is quite sad that as a result of Trumpism, it has become normal for any public official seeking to hold Trump accountable for his myriad infractions, to receive insults and threats of violence from Trumpers. This is especially so for public officials of color like DA Willis, who Trumpers go out of their way to subject to some of the most vile racist attacks imaginable, because Trump has put it in their mind that as long as they are fighting for him, they have a license to use any means.

It will be interesting to see how DA Willis’ investigation plays out, but from her appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show yesterday, Yours Truly came out with the impression that we are dealing with a serious professional here, and Trump better invest on some good legal defense team , certainly better than the one representing him at his Senate impeachment trial.

Bottom line folks, it was well known before, and Trump’s niece Mary Trump recently confirmed it, that Trump pretty much went through life without ever being held accountable for anything. We saw this throughout his presidency too, where at every turn, Republican members of Congress went out of their way to shield him from facing the consequences of his actions. This Fulton County criminal probe is in many ways the very first time Trump is staring at the potential of facing consequences for his actions, and ending up in jail. If Trump does indeed end up in a Georgia jail, it will be impossible to ignore the powerful poetic justice behind it–that the same Black women who Trump routinely maligned and addressed with great contempt as somehow inferior or unqualified, are the same ones who formed the backbone of the successful resistance to his presidency, picked Trump’s successful Democratic challenger Joe Biden (especially South Carolina women), and now one of them, Fulton County DA Fani Willis, appears poised to succeed in what everybody else has failed–holding Trump accountable for his actions.

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GA Governor’s Former Campaign Manager Is A Lobbyist For Voting Machine Company Responsible For GA Voting Debacle

Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show(TRMS) featured a segment about the numerous problems voters experienced when trying to cast their ballots in Georgia’s primary elections. As usual, the voting problems were concentrated in democratic party strongholds–urban areas where minorities live. The Maddow segment however threw in an interesting tidbit into the story and that is, the lobbyist for the voting machine company(Dominion) at the center of Georgia’s primary voting debacle is none other than the former campaign manager for Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Maddow specifically said, “An electronic voting machine company[Dominion Voting Systems] hired [Governor] Brian Kemp’s former campaign manager to be it’s lobbyist, and then the Brian Kemp administration in Georgia, hired that company to replace all of the voting machines in every city, town and county in Georgia, all in record time–literally record time. The state had this board of evaluators that was looking at the various companies who were trying to get that voting machine contract. This board of evaluators looked at the different bids from the different companies and what they were offering. They did not pick the company that Georgia ultimately went with. They picked a different company altogether. But no, the state administration instead decided they would go with the company that Brian Kemp’s campaign manager was the lobbyist for. The company had never had a job this big ever, in fact there has never been a bigger job in U.S. election history. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution pointed out last November, what Georgia was trying to roll out here, was the largest and fastest roll out of elections equipment in U.S. history.”

Maddow’s segment raises the prospect that the Tuesday primary election debacle we witnessed in Georgia may not have been the result of some random or unforeseeable technical difficulties but rather, a well orchestrated plan of voter suppression by Georgia Republicans. Governor Brian Kemp is no stranger to allegations of voter suppression. As a matter of fact Kemp has been a constant target of election integrity/security advocates like Jennifer Cohn for years.

This troubling revelation that Kemp’s former campaign manager is the lobbyist for the voting machine company at the center of Georgia’s voting debacle should be cause for a complete and thorough voter suppression investigation. We simply cannot afford to wait until the November general elections to be “surprised” by the same voting machine problems.

Bottom line folks, there’s no longer any doubt that the unpopular policies of the republican party are increasingly turning it into a marginal/regional party. Republican party leaders have long realized that their only chance of clinging on to power is to make sure as few people as possible vote, especially minorities who traditionally vote against them. What we witnessed in Georgia’s primary elections was just the latest example of GOP voter suppression but it definitely will not be the last. If we are going to have free and fair election this Fall, it is imperative that the mainstream media and members of congress take voter suppression allegations like the ones in Georgia very seriously. Simply put, Governor Kemp must not be allowed to orchestrate yet another voting “debacle” in November for GOP’s benefit.

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Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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Deutsche Bank Employee Was Fired After Flagging Trump/Kushner-Russia Transactions

A bombshell segment on yesterday’s (2/17/20) edition of Rachel Maddow show took a deep dive into Trump’s long history of shady transactions at the troubled Deutsche Bank. Among the eye-popping revelations on Maddow show which are detailed in a new book called “Dark Towers”, was the fact that a Deutsche Bank employee, one Tammy McFadden, was fired after flagging suspicious transactions Trump and Kushner made with Russian individuals via Deutsche Bank.

Maddow asked “Dark Towers” author David Enrich, who’s also the Finance Editor at New York Times, “During the presidential election [2016], a Deutsche Bank employee raised concerns about transactions related to Jared Kushner. There seemed to be a link between Kushner’s dealings with Deutshe Bank and Trump’s dealings. They involved the same banker, they seemed to sort of be cultivating the same ties, what do you know about the seriousness of the concerns that were raised about Kushner and sending money to Russia during the campaign?”

Author David Enrich responded, “They were extremely serious. The woman who raised these concerns named Tammy McFadden, I spent a lot of time talking with her, and she was so concerned that she not only filed a suspicious activity report…but when that report was killed, she started complaining so loudly internally that she had to be transferred to another part of the bank and then ultimately was fired. She still feels very strongly about this. She had the courage to speak out publicly and talk to me, have her picture taken, which is something that in this day and age, in this political climate, just takes such guts and people who don’t feel really strongly, really alarmed about something don’t do.”

Right off the bat, it is very hard to swallow the fact that during the thick and thin of the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner was making wire transfers to individuals in Russia, which regulators at Deutsche Bank found highly suspicious. How thoroughly did Special Counsel Mueller dig into these transactions before arriving at the “no collusion” conclusion? Did Mueller ever interview Tammy McFadden? If not, why not?

As for the brave and heroic whistleblower Tammy McFadden, who is apparently ready to share her story with anybody who would listen, why hasn’t the mainstream media given her an exclusive interview yet. Why hasn’t she been called to testify before Congress so the public can know exactly what Trump and Kushner were doing with the Russians?

Bottom line folks, even though Mueller’s TrumpRussia probe is officially over, it is very clear that there are still many questions regarding TrumpRussia that remain unanswered. After Maddow’s bombshell show, the public must demand to hear from Tammie McFadden about her tenure at Deutsche Bank, and specifically what she detailed in her suspicious activity reports that the bank killed. It would be great if the mainstream media would grant McFadden an exclusive interview but the best option by far would be her testimony before Congress under oath.

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Lev Parnas Says It Was All About Biden, Not Corruption

In an explosive interview on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Lev Parnas, the indicted Ukrainian-American at the very center of President Trump’s impeachment saga, appears to have dealt a death blow to Trump’s defense when he told host Maddow that all Trump wanted from President Zelensky of Ukraine was dirt on Biden and that he was never interested in rooting out corruption in the country.

Parnas told Maddow, “It[Ukrainegate]was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and also Rudy [Giuliani]had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff, the black ledger. That was another thing that they were looking into. But it was never about corruption, it was strictly about Burisma which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”

This is a very problematic revelation for the Trump team because their entire defense has been that as President, Trump had every right to deny aid to Ukraine if he felt that hard earned U.S. tax dollars would be misappropriated by corrupt Ukrainian officials.

Republican Senators, especially those from swing states who are up for reelection this year, have found it impossible to defend Trump against allegations that he sought help from a foreign country (Ukraine) to dig up dirt on his political opponent (Biden). These Senators have instead rested on the more palatable anti-corruption defense.

If Parnas’ allegation that this was all about Joe Biden pans out, and all indications are that they will, then the vulnerable Republican Senators who have relied on the anti-corruption defense will have no leg to stand on and may be forced to do the unthinkable–put the country’s interests over the GOP and vote to remove Trump from office .

Bottom line folks, we all know that Washington and indeed the rest of the country has become deeply polarized as a result of the Trump presidency. Under any other normal administration, the revelations brought forward by Ukrainegate would be enough to garner bipartisan support both in the House and Senate for a president’s impeachment and removal from office. It will be interesting to see whether partisanship in Washington has become so bad under Trump, that he is allowed to get away with his very troubling conduct re Ukrainegate–the quintessential “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

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NBC Execs Sat On Weinstein Sexual Assault Story

In case you missed it there was a very important story on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show where Maddow took on her own network (NBC) for the way network executives blocked Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults.

According to Farrow, who was Maddow’s guest on the show, NBC President Noah Openheim issued direct orders several times that Farrow’s piece on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults was not to be published. It was this stonewalling by NBC executives that led Farrow to leave NBC for New York Magazine which ended up breaking the Harvey Weinstein story earning him a Pulitzer prize.

Naturally, the fact that Farrow won a Pulitzer prize for a piece that NBC executives refused to publish has reignited the age old question of media manipulation by network executives. Specifically, the question is whether media houses run news items strictly based on their newsworthiness or do other factors like cronyism, politics, etc make network executives bury otherwise newsworthy stories? This is a debate that has been raging for a while now.

You’ll remember Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders got in hot water recently with some mainstream media types after he accused the Washington Post of not fairly covering his campaign because he routinely attacks its owner Jeff Bezos. Bernie Sanders essentially accused Washington Post of ignoring favorable coverage of him while highlighting news that cast him in negative light

Given this bombshell segment on Maddow that network executives do indeed bury certain stories, is it fair to say that Bernie Sanders was on to something with his criticism of the media? We now know for a fact that network executives do indeed bury certsin stories.

This story is especially important for those of us who have advocated and petitioned for quite some time now that the mainstream media take a serious look into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s military discharge. This too appears to be a very newsworthy story that for whatever reason, network executives appear to have labelled “Do Not Publish”.

Bottom line folks, there’s always been suspicion among members of the public that a select few people exert undue influence on our media consumption. In an open society like ours, the public is best served when media executives make decisions to publish stories strictly based on newsworthiness. There is absolutely no excuse as to why NBC executives sat on the Weinstein story unless of course Weinstein pressured them to do so–a valid line of inquiry. There is also abzolutely no reason why 30-plus years into his tenure as a U.S. Senator, Americans should still be speculating on the reasons as to why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was discharged from the military in 1967. The mainstream media could get this answer if they wanted to. The question is why don’t they? What media executive has told them not to look into it?

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Trump Has Already Lost Tax Return Battle

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in a very encouraging segment recently revealed that despite the unprecedented stonewalling Trump has engaged in regarding the release of his tax returns, there’s strong reason to believe he has all but lost the fight. According to Maddow, a lot of the banks Trump has used for his business dealings over the years have already shared these transactions with the various congressional committees. It therefore turns out that with these treasure troves of Trump’s financial records, we may not even need his actual tax returns to get an accurate picture of his financial dealings–especially with the Russians.

It is very sad that even in this day and age Americans would have to fight this hard to get a public official to release his financial records–records he swore on the campaign trail he would release to the public.

It is also very sad that a major U.S. political party–The GOP–has aided and abetted Trump in this unprecedented stonewalling in total breach of the public’s trust. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in particular has gone as far as violating well-laid IRS statutes in an effort to aid Trumps stonewalling–a total travesty of public service and borderline criminal conduct.

Bottom line if Maddow’s reporting pans out that congressional Democrats do indeed already have much of Trump’s financial records, then this should not only be celebrated as a big win for government transparency advocates, but it should also lead to louder calls for Secretary Mnuchin and others to be held accountable. This is especially so if evidence of criminal conduct is unearthed in Trump’s financial records–a very likely outcome.

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Manafort Is Proof Of #YesCollusion

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe concluded, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have latched on to the “time to move on” mantra incorrectly suggesting that Mueller was hired to investigate TrumpRussia collusion and found no evidence of such collusion. This is a very clever argument, which Republicans have calculated will be widely accepted by their voting base. From a factual basis however, the argument that Mueller never found any evidence of collusion is as deceptive as it gets.

It is a well established fact that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had multiple contacts (while chairman), with Russians tied to the country’s military intelligence. It is also a well established fact that Manafort as Trump campaign chairman, shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with a Russian military intelligence aide(Konstantin Kilimnik). It is also a well established fact that Manafort fought tooth and nail to keep his communications with the said Russians away from Mueller’s team, even risking spending the rest of his life in prison to that end. In his recent press briefing, Robert Mueller concluded by saying this about Russian meddling, “There were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”

Any reasonable presented with these set of facts will inevitably arrive at the conclusion that Manafort’s obfuscation/refusal to fully cooperate was the reason Mueller failed to establish a clear cut TrumpRussia collusion case. In other words, Mueller had evidence of TrumpRussia collusion but without cooperation from Manafort, could not make an an iron-clad case. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did an excellent segment on this very topic.

Bottom line, there cannot be a conclusive determination as to whether Trump campaign colluded with Russians without getting to the bottom of Manafort’s well documented contacts with Russian military intelligence. What was the content of his communications with them? Why did he share polling data with a Russian with close ties to Russian military intelligence? What exactly was the polling data he shared with them? What discussions did Trump’s lawyers have with Manafort regarding his cooperation with Mueller? These and many more, are questions that must be posed to Mueller and Manafort if they ever testify before Congress. Preferably, the Manafort question should be a key aspect of Trump’s impeachment hearings because it would force Manafort, Trump and his lawyers to testify about this incident under oath. Simply put folks, #YesCollusion!!

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