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Trump says FBI ‘in tatters’ in series of tweets

President Donald Trump in a series of tweets Sunday morning attacked the FBI, asserting that its reputation was “in tatters.”

>> Read more trending news

The president also denied that he ordered former FBI Director James Comey to halt an investigation of Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump, Newsweek reported.

“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters -- worst in History!” Trump tweeted. “But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”

Trump also took a shot at the media, tweeting that “I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”

The president also mentioned a report by Fox News that an FBI agent reassigned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for texts critical of Trump was under investigation for his role in the emails probe of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Newsweek reported.

“Now it all starts to make sense!" Trump tweeted.

The president’s latest series of tweets come after Flynn admitted Friday to having lied to the FBI about his contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration, Newsweek reported. Trump fired Flynn in February for deceiving Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Kislyak, Newsweek reported.

Trump reacts to Flynn's guilty plea by slamming Hillary Clinton, 'rigged system'

President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter late Saturday to the guilty plea of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn by asking why Flynn’s “life is destroyed” for lying to the FBI while "nothing happens" to Hillary Clinton.

>> On Rare.us: President Trump has officially reacted to Michael Flynn’s guilty plea — here’s what we know

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” Trump asked in his first tweet.

>> ABC News suspends Brian Ross after correcting report about Michael Flynn, Trump

The president then questioned the state of the “‘Justice’ Department” in the United States.

“Many people in our Country are asking what the “Justice” Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and ‘acid washed’ 33,000 Emails? No justice!” he added.

Earlier in the day, Trump also tweeted about Flynn’s guilty plea, as well as an erroneous ABC News report about it.

>> Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Russia probe: Live updates

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” Trump tweeted.

Flynn, on Friday, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and pledged to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Earlier Saturday, The Washington Post and others reported the president told reporters both that he is not worried about the plea and that he is pleased that “what has been shown is no collusion."

“There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

>> Michael Flynn indictment: Read the charges filed against Flynn

Flynn, a 58-year-old retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, accepted responsibility for his actions in a written statement: “My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.”

Immediately after Flynn’s plea, White House lawyer Ty Cobb sought to put distance between Trump and the ex-aide, saying, “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

>> Flynn indicted: Read what Flynn agreed to tell the government about conversations with the Russians

Trump grew close to Flynn during the campaign. The general was a vocal and reliable Trump surrogate, known for leading crowds in “Lock her up” chants regarding Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. After his election victory, Trump elevated Flynn as his top national security adviser.

But Flynn’s White House tenure was short-lived. He was forced to resign in February following news reports revealing that Obama administration officials had informed the Trump White House that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a fact at odds with the public assertions of Vice President Mike Pence.

Another Trump tweet congratulated ABC News for suspending Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross.

ABC News, under fire since an erroneous Friday report claiming that Flynn would testify that the president ordered him to contact Russians while a candidate for president, has responded by suspending Ross for four weeks.

>> Read more trending news

ABC News called the mistake a “serious error,” although before it had attempted a “clarification” and then a “correction.”

Ross has been suspended without pay.

ABC News made headlines for how it handled the error. The Washington Post went so far as to call “cowardly” the initial “clarification” released by ABC, a statement that later turned into a “correction.”

The initial report said that Trump, while a presidential candidate, ordered Flynn to contact Russians. The correction said the order actually came during the transition when Trump was president-elect.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication

Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to FBI investigators probing the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to federal investigators. His plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C.

Flynn entered and left the federal courthouse without speaking to reporters waiting outside.

In a statement he issued in conjunction with his plea agreement, Flynn said he is “working to set things right” by accepting responsibility for his actions. He admitted he is cooperating fully with special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said in his statement. “Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. 

“But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Flynn is the fourth person -- and the first White House aide -- charged in Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections. Charges were filed last month against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. 

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to making false statements to federal investigators.

Court documents released Friday accused Flynn of making false statements to FBI investigators in January, just days after Trump was sworn into office. Flynn resigned Feb. 13 amid the allegations that he lied about communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Reports from the Associated Press and ABC News indicate that part of Flynn’s plea deal includes his promise to testify that Trump’s transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials.

A White House lawyer said in a statement that Flynn’s guilty plea does not implicate anyone other than the retired general.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” attorney Ty Cobb said. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

Cobb described Flynn as a “former Obama administration official” who was “at the White House for 25 days” during Trump’s administration. 

The indictment made public Friday stated that Flynn lied about conversations he had with Kislyak in December, during the Trump administration’s transition and before he officially became Trump’s national security advisor. Investigators state that Flynn lied about asking Kislyak on Dec. 22 to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.”

Read the indictment against Michael Flynn

Flynn also lied about his request to Kislyak on Dec. 29 that the ambassador “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” the indictment read. 

“Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,” the court document said

Flynn is also under fire for a 2015 speaking engagement in Russia. He was paid $45,000 for the event, but it was not clear if he received the required permission from U.S. officials or whether he reported being paid for the speech, as mandated by law. 

Flynn resigned after reports surfaced indicating that he lied to then-Vice President Elect Mike Pence about his communications with Russian officials. His 24-day tenure as national security advisor was the shortest in the office’s history.

>> Read more trending news

Lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee said in April that Flynn failed to register as a lobbyist while working on Turkey’s behalf. Flynn's consulting firm accepted $530,000 for work with a firm that is associated with Turkey's government, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Flynn’s lawyer filed paperwork with the Justice Department in February disclosing that he had done lobbying work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey” between August and November 2016. 

The New York Times reported in August that investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House for documents related to Flynn. They also questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government, according to the Times.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress over the summer that he felt the president tried to pressure him into dropping the investigation into Flynn.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey, the New York Times reported. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Trump denied that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.

Debbie Lord and Theresa Seiger contributed to this report.

Michael Flynn charged in Russia investigation: 5 things to know

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been charged by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III with making false statements to federal investigators. He pleaded guilty in a federal courthouse in Washington Friday.

Here's what we know about the Michael Flynn investigation:

1.) What has Flynn been charged with?Flynn has been charged with one count of lying to the FBI. The count encompasses two separate instances of lying to FBI investigators. Read the court charging document.

2.) What incidents prompted the charge?Two separate conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, and Flynn's misrepresentation of those conversations to the FBI in January prompted the charge, according to the documents filed by the special counsel. The December conversations involved Russian sanctions and a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution, according to the special counsel's court filing.

>> Read more trending news

3.) Is the Flynn charge a surprise?The charge is not a surprise to many legal experts. Flynn has been under investigation for months. Just this past week, Flynn's legal team told Trump's legal team they could no longer share information. This move seemed to indicate that charges, and/or a plea deal, was in the works.

4.) What happens next?Flynn has pleaded guilty Friday to one charge of lying to the FBI, the New York Times reported. It is not known at this time what punishment may be levied, or if there is a cooperation agreement in the works.

Flynn released a statement about the charge, acknowledging that his actions outlined in court documents were wrong, and that he accepts full responsibility for his actions.

It also is not known at this time if Flynn's son, Michael Flynn, Jr., will face any charges. Flynn and his son worked closely together. The Washington Post is reporting that Flynn Jr. is not expected to be charged, as part of the Flynn plea agreement.

5.) What is the White House's response? Trump's legal team issued a formal response to the Flynn charge and guilty plea.

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Russia probe: Live updates

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to "willfully and knowingly" lying to the FBI in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

>> Read more trending news

>> More on Robert Mueller’s investigation

Flynn lied to investigators in January about conversations he had in December 2016 with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, according to court documents released Friday.

Read the document released Friday:

Al Franken accused of sexual misconduct by Army veteran, former elected official

An Army veteran and a former elected official in New England accused Sen. Al Franken of sexual misconduct Thursday, bringing the embattled lawmaker’s total number of accusers to six.

>> Read more trending news

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, told CNN she was a 27-year-old military police officer when she met Franken in Kuwait during a USO tour in December 2003. She told the news station that as a longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” she got in line to meet him.

Franken was elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate and previously worked as a comic and host for Air America Radio. He was a writer and sometime-actor for "Saturday Night Live" from 1977 to 1980 and from 1988 to 1995.

>> Related: 'Saturday Night Live' women defend Sen. Al Franken after groping allegations

Kemplin told CNN that Franken put his arm around her for a photo when his hand slid over her breast.

"When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast," she told the news network. "I've never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast.”

>> Related: Sen. Al Franken accused of kissing, groping news anchor without consent

She said his hand remained over her chest for five to 10 seconds before she shifted and the photo was taken.

"I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed," she said. "And I remember thinking -- is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand."

A spokesperson for Franken told CNN that the senator “takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation."

Another woman told Jezebel that Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” while they were onstage for an event in 2006. The woman declined to be identified because, she told Jezebel, she wanted her name associated with her accomplishments “and not publicly linked to a man’s bad behavior.”

The woman was chair of her town’s Selectboard when Franken invited her to appear as a guest on a live taping of his show on Air America Radio, Jezebel reported.

After the interview, as the two were still onstage, the woman said she reached toward Franken to shake his hand.

“He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open,” she said. “I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek.”

She called the incident demeaning.

“I felt put in my place,” she said. “It was onstage in front of a full theater. … It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it.”

>> Related: Sen. Al Franken accused of groping woman in 2010

The allegations came after four other women claimed Franken made inappropriate sexual contact with them. Most of the women shared stories similar to Kemplin’s, telling reporters that Franken groped them as they posed for photos.

Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden was the first to go public with her accusations, writing in a blog for KABC earlier this month that Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts for a photo as she slept while the two were on a USO tour in 2006. She shared an image of herself sleeping as Franken’s hands hovered over her chest as evidence of the incident.

Franken apologized and called for an ethics investigation into the incident.

"I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter," Franken said in a statement. "There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture."

The Senate Ethics Committee on Thursday announced that it was opening a preliminary inquiry into the allegations, The Associated Press reported.

5 times Tillerson publicly disagreed with Trump

The White House has plans to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA. chief Mike Pompeo Thursday, according to administration sources, following multiple reports this year indicating tension between Tillerson and President Donald Trump.

>> Read more trending news

Two senior administration officials confirmed the plans on condition of anonymity, The Associated Press reported.

Under the proposed plan, according to The New York Times, Pompeo would be replaced by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas.

>> Related: Pompeo may replace Tillerson under White House plan, reports say

Tillerson’s departure has been widely anticipated for months, but associates said he sought to finish out the year “to retain whatever dignity he could,” the Times reported.

>> Related: Trump suggests his IQ is higher than Tillerson's after reported 'moron' jab

His exit would make his time as secretary of state the shortest of those whose tenure was not ended by a change in presidents in nearly 120 years.

The relationship between Tillerson and Trump has been strained by name-calling and public disagreements on multiple major issues.

>> Related: Tillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'

Here are five times Trump and Tillerson publicly disagreed on an issue:

1. When Trump criticized Tillerson’s approach to North Korea and “Little Rocket Man”

In October, President Donald Trump publicly contradicted Tillerson’s stance on a North Korea and tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump’s nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Related: Donald Trump brands North Korea's Kim Jong Un with new nickname – 'Rocket Man'

“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” Trump wrote, and warned of U.S. military action to the country’s escalating nuclear threat.

Trump also told reporters during a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course: “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power – the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

>> Related: Haley: Trump's 'fire and fury' comment 'not an idle threat'

This was one day after Tillerson, who would rather avoid military use to reach a consensus with the country, said he was trying to open the door for talks with North Korea.

Others in Congress also spoke against Trump’s approach. 

“North Korea is a global threat that requires American diplomacy,” said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, who labeled Trump’s talk “dangerous and risks war.”

2. When the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord

In August, Tillerson publicly disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a pact to voluntarily curb greenhouse gas emissions.

>> Related: What is the Paris climate agreement? 9 things to know 

"I was free to express my views. I took a counter view to the decision that was made," Tillerson said.

The United States is now the only country that has rejected the global pact, according to the Times.

3. When Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally

Following the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally of white supremacists that resulted in the death of rally protester 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence.

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville

Heyer was killed when a neo-Nazi drove a car into her and other demonstrators at the rally.

The president’s comments were widely criticized. United Nations experts, without explicitly naming Trump, said it was “a failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn racist violence,” the Times reported.

Amid the backlash to Trump’s comments following the attack, Tillerson addressed State Department interns and staff.

“We do not honor, nor do we promote or accept, hate speech in any form,” Tillerson said at the event. “Those who embrace it poison our public discourse, and they damage the very country that they claim to love.”

>> Trump slams Lindsey Graham, media over Charlottesville backlash

When asked whether Trump’s response represented “American values,” Tillerson said on Fox News, “The president speaks for himself ... I have spoken. I have made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.”

4. When Tillerson undercut Trump’s Afghanistan strategy

During an address to military personnel in August, Trump repeatedly said the U.S. would win the war in Afghanistan and do so by military action.

"Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win," he said during an address to military personnel in August. "From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaida, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."

>> Related: Donald Trump’s plan in Afghanistan: Transcript from his speech

Tillerson’s approach to the Taliban was more diplomatic and undercut Trump’s.

"You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you," he said, addressing the Taliban. "So at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way to bring this to an end."

“ A clear victory,” The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake reported, “is something that basically any military expert will tell you is very difficult to foresee (much less predict) in Afghanistan — especially with only a few thousand more troops on top of already-far-reduced troop levels and an apparently limited amount of patience from the commander in chief.

5. General concern (or lack of) for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election

Despite growing evidence from the U.S. intelligence community of Russian interference in the election, Trump has repeatledly dismissed or minimized the findings, circling back to U.S. intelligence’s failure 15 years ago regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to increase doubt about the agencies’ conclusions.

>> Related: Donald Trump stops short — doesn’t accuse Russia of U.S. meddling

"I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess," Trump said. "They were wrong and it led to a mess. So, it was Russia. And I think it was probably others also. And that's been going on for a long period of time."

Tillerson, on the other hand, is concerned about Russian interference. He has said he’s tried "to help [the Russian government] understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship between the U.S. and the American people and the Russian people.”

>> Related: Trump says he believes Putin’s denials over election meddling

At the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July, Tillerson told an associate he was "stunned" by the way Trump had approached Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, the Times reported.

Trump said he started his meeting with Putin by saying, "I'm going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?" According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Trump accepted firm assertions from Putin that it is not true.

Rep. John Conyers hospitalized amid sex harassment accusations, calls for resignation

Embattled Rep. John Conyers was hospitalized Thursday with what a family spokesman called a stress-related illness amid accusations that the 88-year-old sexually harassed several women who worked for him and growing calls for his resignation, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Political consultant and family friend Sam Riddle told reporters that Conyers was hospitalized due to stress, WDIV reported.

>> Related: Conyers steps aside from House Judiciary Committee post

>> Related: Congressional investigation launched after sexual harassment allegations against Rep. John Conyers

Pompeo may replace Tillerson under White House plan, reports say

Update Dec. 1, 2017 3:20 p.m. EST: President Donald Trump on Friday denied that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be removed from his post and replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo in the coming weeks, writing on Twitter that reports that said otherwise were “FAKE NEWS!”

“He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Reports surfaced Thursday that a White House plan would see Tillerson ousted “within the next several weeks.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that there were no personnel announcements Thursday and that Tillerson "continues to lead the State Department."

Original report: The White House has created a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA director Mike Pompeo, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing unnamed senior administration officials.

>> Read more trending news

The newspaper reported that it was not immediately clear if the plan, which could see Tillerson ousted “within the next several weeks,” had been approved by President Donald Trump.

Trump tweets: Pelosi, Schumer pull out of meeting after Twitter attack

Congress’ top Democrats abruptly pulled out of a bipartisan meeting Tuesday with President Donald Trump, hours after he attacked them on Twitter.

>> Read more trending news

The decision raised doubts about whether lawmakers would come to an agreement to avoid a possible government shut down at the end of next week.

In a joint statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said a tweet posted by the president Tuesday morning prompted their decision to cancel the meeting.

“Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” the statement said.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, the president said Schumer and Pelosi “want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”

“Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement,” Pelosi and Schumer said that they have asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to meet later Tuesday.

“We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement,” the pair said in the statement. “If the President, who already said earlier this year that ‘our country needs a good shutdown,’ isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year end agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are, as we did in April.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the decision by Pelosi and Schumer “disappointing.”

“The president’s invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourage them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work,” she said. “These issues are too important.”

In a joint statement, Ryan and McConnell slammed Pelosi and Schumer, accusing the pair of “putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics.”

“We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues,” the statement said. “There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there.”

Congress faces a Dec. 8 deadline to pass stopgap legislation to keep the government open and a slew of other unfinished legislation.

It was hoped the White House meeting might lay a foundation to keep the government running and set a path for a year-end spending package to give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a budget freeze.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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