Ex-Pence adviser says Trump’s Fauci ad is a ‘gross’ example of a White House with ‘no regard for the truth’

Olivia Troye, a former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is calling the Trump campaign’s decision to use an edited clip of Dr. Anthony Fauci in a new ad “gross and upsetting and typical of a White House that has no regard for the truth.”

Before resigning in July, Troye served as Vice President Mike Pence’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, and was his lead staffer on the task force. She began speaking out against the Trump administration last month, releasing an ad with the Republican Voters Against Trump organization that slammed the president for not taking COVID-19 seriously.

Fauci is the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and for a new ad, the Trump campaign spliced together Fauci’s words in an attempt to make it sound like he was praising the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci said on Sunday his words were used out of context and without his permission, and over the course of his career he has “never publicly endorsed any political candidate.” On Monday, he called on the campaign to take down the ad.

Troye was shocked by the ad, and in response she quickly filmed a new video for Republican Voters Against Trump, which was released on Monday night. In it, Troye explains that she worked side-by-side with Fauci on the coronavirus task force, and she “witnessed Donald Trump and senior White House officials routinely sideline and discredit Dr. Fauci, both privately and publicly, and now the Trump campaign is twisting Dr. Fauci’s words in a campaign ad for their own political gain.”

This is “gross and upsetting and typical of a White House that has no regard for the truth,” Troye continues. “For Donald Trump, it’s always about him. For Dr. Fauci, it’s always been about serving the American people. Join me as a Republican and former Trump administration staffer who is voting for Joe Biden.” Republican Voters Against Trump says the ad will air nationally during one of Trump’s favorite shows: Fox & Friends.

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Trump adviser says state funding got in the way of stimulus deal

  • President Donald Trump told White House negotiators to table stimulus talks until after the election.
  • The acting director of the Domestic Policy Council, Brooke Rollins, told Insider in an exclusive interview that state funding was the biggest area of disagreement. 
  • “I think he just realized that it’s just so far apart, and ultimately to best serve the country it’s better to wait and revisit once we’re out of the political maelstrom,” she said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

A coronavirus stimulus deal between Democrats and the White House fell apart largely because the sides couldn’t agree about how much money to give budget-crunched states, according to one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers. 

“Where the Democrats came down was so far out of — no pun intended — out of left field in terms of the trillions of dollars that they wanted to bail out states and cities,” Brooke Rollins, the acting director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Insider. 

Trump announced his surprise decision to walk away from another stimulus package in a series of tweets Tuesday. The decision came a day after he left the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center despite still being sick with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. While hospitalized, the president had used his prolific social media account to urge Congress to reengage with his administration on negotiations over a new stimulus bill. 

Stocks fell sharply after Trump’s announcement on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average plummeting almost 400 points. The talks on a new stimulus broke down while the US economy continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 people and put millions out of work as businesses shut down.

 

‘We tried really, really hard’

Speaking with Insider just minutes after the president’s tweets, Rollins said there were several factors that influenced his decision to back out of talks. But she singled out the Democrats’ demand for funding to the states as a no-go because the White House saw that as primarily intended to help bail out blue states and cities whose governments had mismanaged taxpayer dollars. 

“I think he just realized that it’s just so far apart, and ultimately to best serve the country it’s better to wait and revisit once we’re out of the political maelstrom,” she said. 

Rollins said she wasn’t sure how close House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had been to reaching a deal before the president’s announcement. The Domestic Policy Council that she leads is an influential body in the White House that’s made up of top Cabinet members. It also meets regularly with Trump.   

“I know we tried really, really hard,” she said.

Read more: Meet the 24 most powerful people advising Trump on healthcare as the president vies for a second term

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the

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White House Adviser Hope Hicks Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Traveling With Trump

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s closest confidantes, has tested positive for COVID-19, Bloomberg reports. She traveled with the commander in chief to campaign rallies in Minnesota and Ohio this week, as well as to Tuesday’s presidential debate, and she was seen in photos both with and without a face covering.

A White House spokesman said safety protocols were in place to protect the president despite members of his circle contracting the virus. “The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement to Bloomberg. “White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.”

There was reportedly no evidence that the commander in chief had contracted the virus. According to The New York Times, White House officials have been aware since Wednesday evening that Hicks had contracted the virus.

Hicks, who is said to be showing symptoms and was quarantined on Air Force One while traveling back from Minnesota, is the latest in a growing circle around the president to contract the new coronavirus—Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive in May, as did Trump’s own valet. Others include National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, a Marine One pilot, a White House cafeteria worker, and multiple Secret Service agents.

Trump has publicly mocked the use of face masks as a protective measure against COVID-19 despite the consensus of public health officials, including his own advisers, that they effectively slow the virus. He himself wears one infrequently, and he has poked fun at former Vice President Joe Biden for donning one. Against the advice of public health officials, he has hosted indoor campaign rallies in recent weeks, frequently shrugging off concerns that the events could exacerbate the pandemic by joking that the rallies count as “peaceful protests.”

Trump on Thursday changed plans for an upcoming campaign rally in Wisconsin, opting not to hold the event in La Crosse after opposition from local officials who were concerned about a spike in COVID-19 cases. Instead, the rally will now go ahead in Janesville, a town located about 175 miles away that is not considered a “red zone” for the virus.

The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected over 7 million.

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2020 Election Live Updates: Hope Hicks,Top Trump Adviser, Has Virus and Is Quarantined

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s most senior advisers, has tested positive for the coronavirus, three people familiar with the matter said Thursday night.

Ms. Hicks is the closest person to the president known to have contracted the virus. She traveled with Mr. Trump to the presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday and accompanied him aboard Air Force One to Minnesota for a campaign rally on Wednesday night.

Officials at the White House have known since Wednesday evening that she had the virus. Her condition was first reported by Bloomberg News, which also said that she had been quarantined on the flight home. It was unclear when she took the test that resulted in a positive diagnosis.

A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, would not comment directly on her condition. “The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” Mr. Deere said. “White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current C.D.C. guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is traveling.”

Ms. Hicks has frequently been seen traveling without a mask, however, a White House official said that she has been one of the few aides to periodically wear masks in meetings.

Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued a proclamation on Thursday ordering counties to offer only one location for voters to drop off mail-in ballots in person.

Several counties — including the state’s two largest, Harris County (which includes Houston) and Dallas County — had opened or planned to open satellite drop-off locations in addition to their central election offices. Those satellite locations must close as of Friday.

The state’s decision to reduce options for voters to drop off their ballots comes as questions of voting rights, voter suppression and the integrity of the election have emerged as major issues in the 2020 campaign, and it follows disputes over drop boxes in other states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Courts are examining an order by the Ohio secretary of state which, like Mr. Abbott’s, would allow only one drop-off spot per county. In Pennsylvania, Republicans sought to ban drop boxes entirely, but a court rejected their challenge.

In announcing the change in Texas, Mr. Abbott described it as necessary for security. His spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon about why the governor considered the satellite drop-offs insecure.

“The state of

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Former Pence Adviser ‘Appalled’ At Pressure White House Placed On CDC To Open Schools

KEY POINTS

  • New reports said the CDC faced pressure from the White House to downplay the coronavirus’ threat toward younger people
  • Former Pence adviser Olivia Troye said this was to help President Trump’s chances of reelection
  • She said some White House staff were told to go around the CDC to find information supporting Trump’s narrative about the pandemic

A former adviser for Vice President Mike Pence said reports were accurate that the White House pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage schools to reopen and downplay the threat coronavirus posed to children.

Olivia Troye said these efforts were meant to improve President Donald Trump’s chances of reelection in the November general elections.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. has 7.16 million confirmed cases and over 205,000 reported deaths from coronavirus.

“Unfortunately, this was an effort, you know, at times where I would get blindsided, where there would be junior staffers being tasked to find different data for charts to show that the virus wasn’t as bad for certain populations, ages or demographics,” Troye told CNN on Tuesday.

“I think you’ve seen from the beginning the President’s narrative has been ‘everything’s fine. Everything’s OK. Time to get back to normal. Let’s get the economy going again.’”

Troye’s comments come nearly two weeks after she endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and said she planned to vote for him in November.

The New York Times released its report on the mounting pressure on Monday as well, describing the efforts White House staff to encourage reopening.

The Times said several members of the coronavirus task force, including Dr. Deborah Birx, and Pence’s staff routinely asked CDC officials to produce reports showing coronavirus was declining among younger populations. In some cases, Pence had his chief of staff, Marc Short, and junior staff members try to circumvent the CDC and to find data supporting their narrative.

The hope was having schools and the general economy reopened by the fall to help President Donald Trump’s chances of reelection. Troye said it was these actions that led her to leave the White House.

“You’re impacting people’s lives for whatever political agenda,” Troye said. “You’re exchanging votes for lives, and I have a serious problem with that.

“I was appalled when I found out that Marc Short was tasking more junior staff in the office of the vice president to develop charts for briefings.”

Troye added that she feels for CDC Director Robert Redfield because of the position the Trump administration put him in amid the pandemic.

That’s been evident in Redfield’s comments,  which regularly contradict the White House’s efforts to downplay coronavirus. A recent example came during a Senate hearing on Sept. 16, when Redfield said masks were still the best tool to help combat coronavirus and the earliest the U.S. could “get back to regular life” would likely be between June and September 2021 if a vaccine was ready by December.

“I’ve seen Dr. Redfield trying to figure out how he’s going to navigate

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The rise of White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, a lockdown skeptic who increasingly has Trump’s ear and is worrying experts like Fauci



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty


© MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty
Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

  • President Donald Trump brought Dr. Scott Atlas, a vocal anti-lockdown critic, onto his coronavirus task force in August.
  • Atlas is a healthcare-policy expert who works at the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. He is not an infectious-disease expert.
  • Yet the White House has increasingly brought him out to speak at recent coronavirus briefings instead of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx.
  • He appears to be worrying top US health experts: CDC Director Robert Redfield was overheard saying “everything” Atlas says “is false,” and Fauci called him an “outlier” in his coronavirus views.
  • In response to Redfield and Fauci’s comments, Atlas told Business Insider: “Career government public health officials do not have a monopoly on knowledge.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Scott Atlas has only been on the White House’s coronavirus task force for a month, but appears to already have President Donald Trump’s ear and is worrying top experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Atlas was brought onto Trump’s coronavirus task force in August, after appearing on Fox News for several months, where he often echoed the president’s views — including an opposition to lockdowns.

He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University.

Unlike the other experts on the task force, Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, Atlas does not have a specialty in either infectious diseases or public health. Instead, he focuses on healthcare policy and has a background in neuroradiology, which is the reading of X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Nonetheless, Atlas has become a favorite of the president, appearing often at the White House’s coronavirus briefings. Birx and Fauci have not spoken in those briefings as much in recent weeks.

Fauci, Redfield wave red flags

On Friday, an NBC News reporter overheard CDC Director Robert Redfield referring to Atlas in a phone conversation, saying “everything he says is false.” Redfield confirmed to the reporter after the flight that he was indeed talking about Atlas.



Robert R. Redfield wearing a suit and tie: CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that "everything" Atlas says "is false." ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty


© ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty
CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that “everything” Atlas says “is false.” ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty

And in a Monday interview with CNN, Fauci described Atlas as an “outlier” when it came to his opinions on the virus.

“You know my differences with Dr. Atlas, I’m always willing to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolve those differences,” Fauci said.

In response to Redfield and Fauci’s remarks, Atlas told Business Insider: “All of my policy recommendations to the President are directly backed by the current science, and they are in line with what many of the world’s top medical scientists advise, including Martin Kulldorff and Katherine Yih of Harvard Medical School;

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‘Everything’ White House Task Force Adviser Who Sided With Trump Over Masks Says ‘Is False,” CDC Director Tells Colleague

Members of the White House’s coronavirus task force don’t always see eye to eye, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), isn’t keen on comments the newest addition has been making.

Redfield, who has been a member of the task force since its inception, told a colleague during a September 25 phone call that “everything” Dr. Scott Atlas says “is false.” Atlas was added to the task force in August, and Redfield warned a colleague during the phone conversation, which was overheard by NBC News, that he was misleading President Donald Trump with data about mask efficacy, herd immunity benefits and who is at risk.

Atlas contradicted Redfield’s sworn testimony last Wednesday that the data shows more than 90 percent of the U.S. population is still susceptible to the new coronavirus. Atlas said during a briefing that same day that Redfield “misstated something” and added that the CDC’s state-by-state data “is old.” Atlas also said immunity to the infection is not “solely determined by the percentage of people who have antibodies” but also by cross-immunity from other infections.

“So the answer is no, it is not 90 percent of people that are susceptible to the infection,” Atlas said, adding that people are “supposed to believe the science and I’m telling you the science.”

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Redfield and Atlas also broke on the usage of masks. The CDC director told a Senate panel on September 16 that wearing a mask was one of the “most powerful tools” American have right now.

robert redfield scott atlas cdc trump coronavirus
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus on September 23.
Alex Edelman/ POOL/AFP/Getty

Redfield told senators on September 23 that it’s important to use masks if a vaccine is only 50 percent effective, because it’ll give immunity to only half the population.

In response, Trump, who called Redfield about his comment that masks could be more effective than a vaccine, said that a mask “perhaps helps” and that Redfield had “made a mistake,” a stance that Atlas supported.

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“There’s no sound science that shows that you should have all populations wear masks in all circumstances…and that is very much in concert with what is posted on the World Health Organization website and that’s very much in concert with the president’s own policy,” Atlas told CNN on September 18.

Newsweek reached out to Atlas, the CDC and the office of Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, for comments but did not receive responses in time for publication.

Trump, who is regularly tested for the coronavirus, started wearing a mask only in the summer and faced criticism for not embracing facial coverings earlier, in order to lead by example. He pushed back on mask wearing, often citing the earliest months of the outbreak when experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of

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White House virus adviser backs Louisiana’s restrictions

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The White House’s coronavirus response coordinator Wednesday hailed Gov. John Bel Edwards’ COVID-19 restrictions as helping to save lives, giving the Democratic governor a boost on the eve of a special session where Republican lawmakers will work to strip some of those regulations.

Dr. Deborah Birx applauded Edwards’ leadership in responding to Louisiana’s coronavirus outbreak, which surged in the New Orleans area in March and then statewide in June and July. She described the statewide mask mandate, limitations on bars and other restrictions as appropriate to combat the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

“Louisiana made changes that saved people’s lives, both in the March/April timeframe in New Orleans and in the summer post-Memorial Day surge throughout the state,” Birx said.

She added: “We’ve learned that masks work. We’ve learned that restrictions on indoor dining work. We’ve learned that closing bars at a time of high transmission definitely works.”

The White House official spoke with reporters at Louisiana State University, after holding a closed-door meeting with Edwards, state college system leaders and students. She’s held similar meetings in two dozen other states.

Birx’s comments continued a trend of the Trump administration praising the efforts of Louisiana’s Democratic governor to combat the pandemic, even as many of President Donald Trump’s supporters in the state pan Edwards’ performance.

Louisiana’s majority-Republican Legislature is convening a 30-day special session Monday. At the top of the agenda is a GOP-led effort to try to roll back the governor’s emergency powers and revoke some of his coronavirus restrictions.

Republicans say Edwards has damaged Louisiana’s economy and businesses through regulations he’s enacted since mid-March. The governor said he’s trying to allow businesses to operate while also controlling an outbreak that has killed 5,225 people in Louisiana, according to the state health department’s latest figures Wednesday.

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, a Republican from Ascension Parish, described “what many see as an imbalance of power” in the governor’s emergency authority and pledged that the “special session will not end without a solution to this problem.”

It’s unclear what sorts of limits on the governor’s power lawmakers will propose.

GOP Senate President Page Cortez, of Lafayette, said legislators want the ability to weigh in on the response when an emergency extends for months.

“I believe that the governor needs to be able to declare an emergency and have the authority to be nimble enough to operate within that emergency. But at a certain point, when the emergency becomes so extended, the policymaking body should be involved in those conversations,” Cortez said.

Edwards loosened restrictions earlier this month, allowing restaurants, churches, gyms and other businesses to operate at 75% of their capacity, agreeing to resume high school football and authorizing LSU to have 25,000 fans in Tiger Stadium for football games.

But he’s maintained tight limits on bars, keeping them to takeout and delivery sales only unless they operate in a parish that has recently seen low percentages of coronavirus tests returning positive. He’s also

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Ex-Pence adviser and White House Coronavirus Task Force member endorses Biden: ‘It’s country over party’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during Thursday night’s CNN Presidential Town Hall in Scranton that if elected president, he will ensure that police reforms will be made by putting together a coalition of police chiefs, officers, unions, and civil rights and community leaders.

They will “sit at a table and agree on the fundamental things that have to be done, including much more rigorous background checks [for those] that apply for and become officers,” Biden said. He called the “vast majority” of police officers “decent, honorable people,” adding that “one of the things I’ve found is, the only people who don’t like bad cops more than we don’t like them are police officers. And so what we have to do is we have to have a much more transparent means by which we provide for accountability within police departments.”

Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Biden about one of author Bob Woodward’s recent interviews with President Trump, during which Woodward asked Trump if he benefited from white privilege. “No, I don’t feel that way at all,” Trump responded. Biden said he feels the opposite way, and did benefit “just because I don’t have to go through what my Black brothers and sisters have had to go through.”

Biden pivoted and began talking about classism, and how “growing up here in Scranton, we’re used to guys who look down their nose at us. We are used to people looking at us and thinking more suckers, look at us and think that we’re not equivalent to them. If you didn’t have a college degree, you must be stupid.” This is the wrong attitude to have, Biden said, adding, “We are as good as anybody else, and guys like Trump who inherited everything and squandered what they inherited are the people that I’ve always had a problem with, not the people who are busting their neck.” Catherine Garcia

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White House adviser says Trump was ‘straightforward’ on coronavirus when pressed on Woodward interview

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro dismissed concerns on Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump slams Nevada governor at rally, takes aim at mail-in voting Former NFL coach Mike Holmgren slams Trump pandemic response, throws support to Biden Watch Live: Trump rallies supporters in Nevada MORE was purposely downplaying the threat of the coronavirus earlier this year in light of recently released recordings that show Trump privately acknowledged the threat to journalist Bob Woodward in February. 

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOvernight Defense: Trump announces new US ambassador to Afghanistan | Pentagon officially withdraws plan to end ‘Stars and Stripes’ | Biden says Trump doesn’t understand national security, intel officials ‘don’t trust’ him Biden vows to be ‘totally transparent’ on his health if elected Biden says Trump doesn’t understand national security, intel officials ‘don’t trust’ him MORE asked Navarro during a heated interview on “State of the Union” about Trump’s comments in a Feb. 7 interview with Woodward for a forthcoming book that contradicted what the president said publicly about the coronavirus a couple days later. 

Recordings released last week show Trump privately told Woodward the coronavirus was five times deadlier than the flu, but during a press conference a couple of days after the president said the opposite when asked about the coronavirus. 

Asked by Tapper on Sunday why the president was misleading the public, Navarro responded by noting Trump’s so-called travel ban on China imposed at the end of January and plans the White house created in early February to prepare for the virus. 

“You’re not answering my question, you’re talking about what you were doing privately,” Tapper told Navarro. 

Tapper pressed Navarro on the contradiction between Trump’s public comments and those to Woodward, noting that even some Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.), called Trump out after the recording was released. 

“Why wasn’t the president straightforward with the American people?” Tapper asked. 

“He was straightforward,” Navarro responded, adding that Tapper was “cherry picking.”

Tapper said he was not cherry picking, and said he wanted Navarro to answer the question. 

Navarro continued defending Trump’s comments, claiming that “CNN is not honest with the American people.”

Trump participated in multiple interviews with Woodward for his forthcoming book titled, “Rage,” which is the journalist’s second on the Trump presidency. 

Last week, Trump said “perhaps” he misled the public to “reduce panic” about the coronavirus, when asked about the recordings. 

“If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so,” Trump told reporters last Wednesday when asked if he downplayed the virus or misled the public to avoid panic.

“The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country,” Trump continued. “I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic, as you say, and certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.

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