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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two big election-related SCOTUS decisions, & this week's US House Special Election in MT...
Mike Pence and the 'Sergeant Schultz Defense'
The VP claims he was kept in the dark by Team Trump on key issues regarding disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. But is his alibi even plausible?...
Sunday Toons of the 'Witch Hunt!' Moment
Looks like it's double, double toil and trouble for Trump once again this week in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Sessions Rolls Back Justice Reform, Trump Digs Himself Deeper: 'BradCast' 5/19/17
Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert on DoJ's 'draconian' news guidelines; Also: Trump called Comey a 'nut job' in Oval Office with Russians, now heads overseas for nine days...
'Single Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician in American History!': 'BradCast' 5/18/17
'Chaotic darkness' at Trump White House; Cold Turkey for Flynn, Pence; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
'Green News Report' 5/18/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
VA creates carbon cap-and-trade system; Bears Ears Nat'l Monument targeted for gas, oil; Public to EPA: 'Keep regs!'; PLUS: Glacier National Park's glaciers are going, going...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/17 - 5/11/17 - Archives...
What is 'Obstruction of Justice'?:
'BradCast' 5/17/17
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School; Also... BREAKING: Special Counsel named to take over Trump/Russia probe...
'Espionage Act': The Oval Office is Leaking (Bigly): 'BradCast' 5/16/17
Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated law in Russia meeting; Then... BREAKING: Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe...
'Green News Report' 5/16/17
NC hurricane disaster relief denied; April 2017 second hottest on record; Tillerson signs climate change pact; PLUS: DoD warns again of climate's NatSec impacts...
Making Sense of (& Surviving) President 'Goldfish': 'BradCast' 5/15/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting news for NC, thousands turned away from WI polls in 2016...
Sunday Toons of the Moment:
'Comey on Both Sides'...
Everybody hates Comey! Except when they don't, as 'PDiddie' details, among other things, in his latest collections of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/11/17
Trump postpones decision on UN climate pact; Emergency at WA nuke site; Superfund sites mostly in low-income areas; PLUS: Repubs fail to repeal methane flaring rule...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, we pick up on the news that broke mid-show yesterday of Donald Trump's stunning and sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, while the fallout and reeling continues in D.C. and across the nation today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The pretext for that firing, which even some on Fox "News" describe as "almost inexplicable", was Comey's alleged mishandling last year of the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Sec. of State, according to a letter [PDF] written by new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A handful of Republican Senators (though some key ones) have expressed concern or "disappointment" over "the timing" of Trump's unprecedented firing of the FBI chief, which appears to have caught just about everybody by surprise, even as investigations continue at both the FBI and Congress into Trump and members of his campaign regarding allegations of undeclared ties to Russia and/or other foreign nations both during the campaign and after the election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged by Comey's firing, despite their furor about the way he oversaw the Clinton probe last year during the run-up to the Presidential election. They are calling for a special prosecutor to be named by Rosenstein at the DoJ and an independent bi-partisan special committee to be named by Congress to investigate all of this. Many are comparing Trump's dismissal of Comey to Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" at the height of the Watergate investigation, others describing it as "a grotesque abuse of power by the President", while some Congressional Democrats are citing this moment as "a full-blown Constitutional crisis."

Joining us today to try and explain what is or isn't going on here, and whether it amounts to such a Constitutional crisis, full-blown or otherwise, is author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice. He explains the legitimate complaints against Comey, while making the case that his firing was little more than an effort by Trump to disrupt the FBI's ongoing Russia probe.

"What is the emotion you're supposed to feel when the biggest villain in the United States fires the second biggest villain in the United States?," Millhiser wryly asks, before detailing the legal underpinnings for Trump's move, whether any of it is in violation of the law or the U.S. Constitution, and whether Rosenstein or his new boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acted inappropriately in collusion with Trump and the White House.

"The story of the last nine years of American politics," he goes on to explain, "has been that people like Trump, and Jeff Sessions, and James Comey, and Mitch McConnell --- maybe I shouldn't lump Comey in with them because I don't know that he was necessarily acting in bad faith in the way that some of the other ones are --- but people have figured out that we don't have a system of rules that prevents you from doing a lot to blow stuff up, and that prevents you from engaging in a lot of sabotage. What we have are norms that people just didn't violate because they cared enough about the United States of America not to do so."

Those days, Millhiser argues today, appear to be over --- at least as of right now --- in these United States.

Finally, we close with a tiny bit of good news today --- thanks, in part, to the surprising vote of at least one Republican Senator --- regarding the GOP's continuing attempt to roll back Obama Administration fossil fuel-related regulations on public lands...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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And MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The stunning breaking news that FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump hits smack dab in the middle of today's show.

Other than that, we also cover a whole bunch of other noteworthy stuff today, including...

  • South Korea elects liberal candidate who wants to open relations with North Korea as new President, Donald Trump about to get very confused;
  • Trump Campaign scrubs own website amid federal court hearing on 'unconstitutional' Muslim travel ban;
  • Sally Yates makes mincemeat of both hypocritical U.S. Senators from Texas during her Monday Senate testimony;
  • Vulnerable Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) walks out of interview in a huff after being asked perfectly reasonable question;
  • New study finds GOP Photo ID voting restriction laws suppressed huge number of voters in 2016, including some 200,000 in Wisconsin (which Trump reportedly won by 22,700 votes);
  • Illinois Senate calls Republican Governor's bluff, advances bi-partisan bill for automatic voter registration;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as France votes for climate action and climate change-fueled extreme weather turns deadly in Midwest and South East.

Oh, and did I mention Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey today?!!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Maricopa County, AZ Recorder Adrian Fontes...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the new election chief in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms from citizens who, he says, are otherwise eligible to vote, but were never added to the voting rolls by his predecessor, due to what he describes as an unconstitutional or, at least, immoral state statute. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats seem quite giddy (with good reason) about their chances of re-taking the U.S. House next year following Thursday's passage of the wildly unpopular Republican bill to replace ObamaCare. But their voters will have to be able to actually cast a vote next year --- and have their votes counted as cast --- in order for Democrats to have any chance of regaining a majority in Congress.

On that note, we are joined on today's show by Maricopa's brand new County Recorder Adrian Fontes. Last November, the Democratic former prosecutor unseated Pheonix' previous election chief, Republican Helen Purcell, who had served in the post unopposed for 30 years. He was inspired to run following the disastrous Presidential Primary in Maricopa last year, when hundreds of precincts were shut down and many voters were forced to wait for hours to cast a vote in the Sanders/Clinton primary.

Since taking office, Fontes has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms, going as far back as a decade, stored in dusty boxes in a county warehouse. The forms, he explains, were never entered in to the voter database, since the applicants failed to include proof of citizenship, as required by Prop 200, a 2004 ballot initiative that is now Arizona law.

Fontes explains that he is now attempting to confirm the citizenship of the would-be voters himself, by checking their status as already tracked by the state's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) database. "We had a policy in this office that uses what I consider to be a mis-read of state law," he tells me. "The read that was happening says that the County Recorder is to reject the form. My read is, if you've already proven to the State of Arizona that you're a citizen, then you should be allowed to vote."

Critics, specifically Republican critics, charge that Fontes, a U.S. Marine who formerly worked as a prosecutor in both the County Attorney's office as well as for the Arizona Attorney General, is not shy in countering those critics. "Why in the world would anyone not want me to go check with the MVD and say 'lo and behold, the Motor Vehicle Division of the State of Arizona has on file a document proving that this person is a citizen. I will therefore register you to vote!' Why would anybody oppose that?"

Making matters worse or more "ironic" or "laughable", as Fontes describes it, because the federal voter registration form has no instructions for attesting to citizenship status, state guidance requires him to check with the MVD himself to confirm citizenship status for those voters. But if the very same person were to have used a state voter registration form and forgot to fill in their drivers license number or provide other proof of citizenship, he is not supposed to register that person, according to the state rulebook. Moreover, he tells me, an online state registration system automatically checks that very same MVD database for applicants. "So, something that the state does, automatically, on its own website, you've got people telling me that I'm barred from doing. If that's not the epitome of craziness, I don't know what is!"

In all, Fontes tells me, he now believes "nearly 91,000" otherwise eligible voters may be found in those dusty boxes and he plans to register them all if he is able to confirm their status.

In addition to all of that, I ask Fontes about claims by Bernie Sanders supporters (he is one himself) that the DNC and/or Hillary Clinton Campaign were somehow behind the Primary election disaster in Phoenix last year, in order to rig the contest against the progressive Vermont U.S. Senator. That disaster, he explains, is what inspired him to run against Purcell. We also discuss allegations of Arizona's voter database being hacked last year, concerns about the county's electronic ballot tabulation system and whether there is actually any evidence to support claims by Republicans like Donald Trump and his adviser, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (who also instituted a "proof of citizenship" requirement in that state), that millions of illegal votes, including by non-citizens, were cast in last year's election.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report with her usual disturbing news, but also with a number of happily encouraging reports on the amazing growth of clean, renewable energy both in the U.S. and around the world!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Callers ring in on that, Hillary's explanation and NYT's new climate denier...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2017 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton and FBI Director James Comey are both still explaining what exactly happened last year, and callers ring in with lots of thoughts on both of them. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Comey returned to Congress on Wednesday to testify before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on his decision to announce the re-opening of the investigation into Clinton's private email server just over a week before last year's November 8th election. The testimony, in which Comey describes his two choices as being either "really bad or catastrophic", comes one day after Clinton cited that decision as one of several causes for her loss in the Presidential Election last year.

Today, we offer some extended clips from Comey's testimony and Clinton's commentary, before taking listener calls in response to both, as well as on the New York Times controversial decision (as discussed in more detail on yesterday's show) to hire climate science denier Bret Stephens for its op-ed page.

Also, Desi Doyen explains the Trump Administration pending decision on whether to pull out of the landmark U.N. Paris Agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and possibly the entire U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, she joins us for latest Green News Report', as Donald Trump rolls back safety regulations for off-shore drilling, implemented by the Obama Administration following the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Disaster...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a story out of Georgia serves as a jarring reminder that we'd better not wait until 2018 to be concerned about the integrity and public oversight of our electronically tabulated elections. Also, the political blame game is underway regarding the Republicans' planned use of the "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute's time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection.

The recent hack at Georgia's KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration.

One of those special elections is in Georgia on April 18, where the contest to fill GOP Rep. Tom Price's seat in CD-6 (he's now Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services) is drawing both national attention and a lot of money from both Democrats and Republicans. With a suprisingly popular 30-year old Democrat, Jon Ossoff, poised to potentially upset a splintered GOP field in the otherwise solidly Republican district, the race is being regarded as a potential bellwether for the 2018 elections.

Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting's effort to get answers about it from GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group's request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported "massive data breach"; and this weekend's similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

As we discuss what we know, and don't, about the GA hack, Simons, co-author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's Board of Advisers since 2008, tells me that "it's a national scandal" that the state is still using those unverifiable systems for all elections.

Simons had also joined a number of renowned voting systems experts to plea with the Hillary Clinton campaign last year to seek a public hand-count of the Presidential election in several states, given questions about the exceedingly close race and the surprising results in a number of them. When Clinton declined to file for that common sense oversight, Green Party candidate Jill Stein responded affirmatively to the same plea. Nonetheless, as we also discuss today, hand-counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were largely blocked, thanks to efforts by Team Trump, state Republicans and even some Democrats.

We discuss all of that, the years-long effort to institute legislative safeguards against electronic voting and computerized tabulation systems; and why even paper ballots tallied by computers leave the public uncertain about the accurate results of elections. "Paper ballots in and of themselves are not sufficient. That lesson was very clear from the 2016 election," she tells me, as I ask about what I see as the need to publicly hand-count hand-marked paper ballots on election night in order to restore public confidence and oversight of results. "The problem is we have some very bad laws," she responds, offering her thoughts on legislative changes that are needed, short of ditching the computers entirely, in order to respond to what she sees as "a national security issue" in our elections.

Also on today's show: Republican Senators lament the idea of killing the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees...as they prepare to vote to kill it anyway; The NCAA falls for North Carolina's "repeal" scam of its anti-LGBT law; and Trump repeals an Obama-era rule seeking to keep bears from being hunted and killed during hibernation in Alaska...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2017 8:35am PT  

In August of 1822, James Madison, one of this nation's Founding Fathers, famously argued: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

On the other hand, on January 6, 2017, a joint Intelligence Community Report ("IC Report"), entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" explained: "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future."

There is a core conflict seen in those two quotes. What we see proclaimed in the IC Report is a direct collision between self-proclaimed national security interests and the public's right to know.

There is no question that Congress has both the Constitutional right and obligation to investigate "Russia-gate". It does so in accordance with its exceedingly broad powers of oversight that include the ability to "provide new statutory controls over the executive," executive accountability and to exercise its exclusive power of impeachment.

It is really not controversial to suggest, as did The Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), that Congressional hearings be conducted either by an independent or select committee. But even if a reasonable level of investigative objectivity and integrity is achieved, the thorny question remains as to the extent to which such hearings, and testimony from witnesses, should be carried out in public.

It is a difficult issue that pits the public's right to know against (a) avoiding disclosure of classified information, and (b) compromising the ability of federal prosecutors to secure criminal convictions in their own parallel investigations...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: Marcy Wheeler on the public testimony from FBI, NSA chiefs in the U.S. House Intel Committee, and the many still-unanswered questions...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers testified for more than five hours today before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, confirming the existence of an FBI counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and batting down charges by President Trump that then-President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before leaving office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We're joined by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.com for analysis of today's long-awaited public hearing, with a focus on the many still-unanswered questions surrounding the charges of collusion between Trump and Russia and of the leaked classified information documenting a phone conversation between Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Why was Flynn's part of the conversation captured and transcribed by the Intel Community in the first place, before the content of that discussion, concerning sanctions against the former Soviet Union, was leaked to media? Why wasn't Flynn's side of the discussion "masked" or "minimized", as many Americans believe is the case when it comes to the capture of information from U.S. persons during foreign counterintelligence investigations?

"Since 2008," she explains, "it's been permissible for the FBI, in whatever intercepts they get directly, to be able to go back in and look up stuff without distinction of whether the somebody is a US person or a foreigner. This is why the Republicans are so buggy about this."

"What many people are discovering, for the first time, is that the FBI can do backdoor searches. It means they do not need a warrant...where some analyst in the FBI or the NSA has decided someone is of foreign intelligence interest. The FBI doesn't need a warrant for that at all. They access that stuff without any criminal evidence against Americans. If they get a tip on you, they can look you up by your name, just on that tip alone."

Wheeler goes on to detail the legal statutes on that, the lack of public evidence concerning the alleged "cutout" between stolen DNC emails and WikiLeaks, why it took so long for Comey to inform Congress about his investigation at all (he said it's been under way since last July), questions about whether Trump and others in his Administration are susceptible to compromise by foreign agents, and whether or not she has confidence in the Congressional and FBI investigations into all of these matters.

Also today: Trump's approval rating hits a new low, and a federal appellate court protects a Constitutional right in Mississippi by blocking another GOP attempt to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2017 9:54am PT  

The never before utilized Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (full text posted below) may provide the most efficient lawful means to facilitate a swift end to the madness brought on by the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The real issue is not whether Donald Trump --- an utterly dishonest raging authoritarian narcissist and "pathological liar" --- should be removed from office. Instead, the focus should be on which of two alternative constitutional means for removing this miscreant from office has the best chance of ultimately succeeding.

Impeachment is a cumbersome process that, assuming the GOP-controlled Congress would permit it, entails lengthy investigative hearings, and the introduction of Articles of Impeachment alleging High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- Articles that must be approved by a majority of the House. This would be followed by a trial in the Senate. Trump would then be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict. Tall orders for both Republican-majority chambers, to say the least.

Throughout the length of those protracted proceedings, Trump would remain in office with access to the nuclear codes.

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, quoting Harvard's renowned Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, opined that the 25th Amendment offered a viable means for removing Trump from office. Per the language of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump's own cabinet transmitted to the leaders of the House and Senate "their written declaration that [Trump] is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President." The burden would then shift to Trump to submit "his written declaration that no inability exists." If he submits a declaration contending that he is able to carry out the duties of his office, Trump would not be permanently removed unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress upheld the Vice President's declaration.

Irrespective of the legal bases for impeachment --- such as Trump's corrupt and remarkably overt violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses --- it is unlikely that a GOP-controlled Congress would be willing to entertain, let alone vote to impeach a Republican President. This would especially be true if, as is likely, the Articles of Impeachment were introduced by Democratic members of the House.

By contrast, as observed by Lawrence O'Donnell during a Feb. 20 airing of The Last Word (see video below) --- if successfully invoked, the 25th Amendment would pit Republicans against Republicans: to wit, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet against Trump and a minority of the cabinet. If the chaos that is the Trump administration continues and potentially threatens GOP majority rule in either or both houses of Congress in 2018, there's a distinct possibility that, as predicted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the dynamics within the GOP could undergo a significant change. If he could overcome loyalty to the man who named him as his running mate, Pence and a majority of the cabinet could legally initiate a swift end to the Trump presidency.

That's a lot of "ifs"...and even if they all came to pass, there is more to think about regarding this path...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, reporting from the U.S. District Court hearing, says DoJ and state of Texas have 'really bungled this one'
Also: Mike Pence used a private email server for sensitive state business --- and got hacked. Lock him up!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2017 6:22pm PT  

The hypocrisy gets thicker by the moment. On today's BradCast, Vice President Mike Pence used private email for state business while serving as Indiana's Governor. And, down in Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice, after switching sides in a long running voting rights case, bombs out, according to our guest who was in the courtroom for a remarkable hearing this week. [Audio link to show posted at end of this article.]

Yes, VP Pence has been discovered to have used a private email server for state business as Governor of Indiana, even while running for Vice President and mercilessly criticizing Hillary Clinton for having done the same while Secretary of State. Unlike Clinton's email account, Pence's was actually hacked. That news follows a similar report that Trump's EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, also used a private email server for state business while serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General --- and lied to Congress about it.

Then, we're joined by Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern with his amazing report out of Texas, where he was in a federal courtroom this past week, to witness the latest hearing in the long-running case against the state's racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law. The hearing, he explains, was remarkable on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is the fact that, after years of successfully challenging the state Republicans' racist law side-by-side with private litigants, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, now under the control of Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has switched sides in the case to join with Texas!

The result, as Stern details, was encouraging, gob-smacking and, at times, hilarious. After the state's law, denying access to the polls for those without very specific types of state-issued IDs, has been found racially discriminatory in court after court for years (including by the most conservative U.S. Appeals Court in the land), the only real question now before the U.S. District Court Judge is whether or not Texas enacted their voting restriction with a discriminatory intent. If the law is found (again) to have been purposely designed to discriminate against racial minorities, the state could find themselves back under the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance regime, requiring federal approval for any new laws related to elections.

The DoJ, now standing with Texas in their call for the case to be dismissed, offered an argument that the Judge didn't appear to be buying, Stern reports --- largely because the argument seemed to make no sense at all. Their argument, in short, is that the state legislature is working on a new version of the same law. Therefore, their intent while creating the previous version should no longer matter nor be held against them as a violation of the law or Constitution. At the same time, the state attempted to offer evidence that they failed to offer during the original trial, which turned out not to be actual evidence at all. Suffice to say, amidst a mountain of real evidence against them, the DoJ and Texas arguments "crashed and burned," says Stern, adding that "t was almost painful to watch!"

This case, "goes way beyond Texas," he notes, citing some of the responses from a plaintiff attorney for the NAACP after the hearing, and a Democrat that the state's attorney inexplicably tried to blame for the law. "This is sort of testing the waters for many other states, even possibly for a national voter ID bill governing all federal elections. This is just the start. So we're really at the threshold of this battle, even though it feels like we've been waging it forever."

There is a lot more in today's interview. Please tune in for it. Trust me. It's a very nice way to end this week.

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Dem Senators fail to act, so Trump officially becomes President-Elect; Journalist Steve Horn on Koch Brothers' triumph with House passage of REINS Act; AG nominee Jeff Sessions lied about civil rights record...
By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump officially becomes President-Elect, House Republicans adopt a radical restructuring of the U.S. Government at the long-sought behest of the Koch Brothers, and Trump's nominee for Attorney General is exposed as a liar. [Audio link to show posted below.]

While corporate media were covering another mass shooting, this one allegedly by an Army veteran in Florida, the U.S. Congress met in a Joint Session today to certify the final Electoral College vote count. Despite multiple challenges to the results in 10 different states by House Democrats from the Progressive and Black Caucuses, not one U.S. Senator (Democratic, Republican or, yes, Independent) stepped up to join them, as required by the Constitution, for an official challenge to the results. We have full coverage of that, along with the citizen protests inside the Senate chamber as Vice President Joe Biden officially certified the results.

In another reminder that Democrats may not yet full appreciate what we are all now up against, Republicans in the U.S. House passed the radical REINS Act ("Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny" Act) on the second day of the Congressional session. The bill, which the Koch Brothers and their many political organizations have been pushing for years, will upend more than a century of governmental functioning by requiring that every major regulation adopted by a federal agency be approved by both houses of Congress within 70 days. Under the Act, if either the House or Senate fail to ratify new regulations --- created by experts, sometimes over many years, to enforce laws passed by Congress --- it cannot be enforced, and no other similar regulation can be considered until the next session of Congress, a year or two later.

Investigative journalist Steve Horn, who covered the bill's passage in the House at DeSmogBlog yesterday, joins us to discuss the disturbing and far-reaching ramifications if this bill passes in the Senate and is signed by the President, and why it is that it's seemingly receiving little or no attention or concern from Democrats or corporate media.

"The Koch Brothers and the entities they fund...see this as a potential landmark thing. It's huge," Horn tells me. "If it gets through the courts, it could be something akin to a Citizens United, where it sets a whole new precedent. I think the Koch Brothers see this as a potential sea change in government. They want to change the landscape altogether." Well, this'll do it.

Then, as the GOP is drastically limiting the number of days and witnesses for upcoming confirmation hearings of Trump's top appointments, more than 1,000 attorneys are opposing the controversial appointment of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. Attorney General. And a number of longtime DoJ Civil Rights Unit attorneys are calling him out for lying about his litigation record on civil rights when he served as US Attorney in the 80s.

And, finally, Michelle Obama, in her final remarks as First Lady at the White House, called for hope, not fear, as we all move forward together...

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Also: House GOP adopts scheme to make federal lands giveaways easier...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2017 5:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The U.S. electoral disasters continue, GOP takeover and theft, and what non-Rightwingers can do about it all. [Audio link to show posted below.]

House Republicans snuck in something else in their new U.S. House rules yesterday, beyond their aborted attempt to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics: a provision to make it easier to give away federal lands. Desi Doyen fills us in on the scheme.

Then, a few updates --- troubling ones --- on the attempted Wisconsin Presidential 'Recount', where at least 11,000 votes were revealed to have been mistallied (in a state that Donald Trump reportedly won by just 22,000 votes), only half the ballots were allowed to be counted by hand, the cost was about half of what Green Party nominee Jill Stein had been forced to pay, and the final turnout and voter registration numbers in the state are still unknown (ensuring the results still cannot be verified as accurate, even as Congress will accept the Electoral College results on Friday.)

Those are just a few of the reasons why WI is found near the bottom of the list of states in the Electoral Integrity Project's newest report. Most of the lowest-ranked states (14 of the bottom 15) are in the South and/or have both legislatures and governorships controlled by Republicans. The survey, a project of Harvard University and the University of Sydney, also determined the U.S., once again, to be near the bottom of the list of established democracies when it comes to how world political scientists and election experts rate our elections.

Finally, we open the phone lines today to ask listeners: What now? What can progressives, Democrats, the left, the center-left, the center --- basically, the non-Right --- do as Republicans take control of Congress, the White House and a stolen U.S. Supreme Court? Lots of thoughts, with lots of perspective from a lot of great callers...though the last caller of the show may offer our favorite plan of action...

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Guest: 27-year CIA vet Ray McGovern on why he disputes the secretly sourced allegations, and on Trump skipping Presidential Daily Briefings...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2016 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, how corporate media control of our public airwaves helped elect Donald Trump, and a decades-long, top-level CIA intelligence briefer of U.S. Presidents responds to concerns about Trump skipping Presidential Daily Briefings and on, so far, evidence-free, anonymous claims that Russia hacked and manipulated the U.S. election.

First up today, speaking of questioning "conventional wisdom", there is no doubt that the stranglehold of our public airwaves by corporate media helped elect Trump. But a new report suggests their helping hand may have been even worse than we knew, as Sinclair Broadcasting, the infamously rightwing media behemoth and largest single owner of television stations in the nation, apparently struck a deal with the Trump campaign to provide non-critical coverage on its scores of television "news" outlets in the South, Midwest and elsewhere.

Then I'm joined by 27-year CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, who served as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared and personally delivered the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings (PDBs) each morning to American Presidents from Kennedy to Clinton. Since leaving the agency, he has become an outspoken anti-war advocate and peace activist and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group which includes esteemed former intel officials, analysts, experts, and whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, William Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Karen Kwiatkowski, Col. Ann Wright and others. He is also a contributor at Consortium News and his writings and appearances can also be found at RayMcGovern.com.

I invited him back on today to offer insight as to how the preparation and delivery of PDBs to Presidents and Presidents-Elect have changed over the years and how important they are. McGovern offers some fascinating insight and inside Presidential stories on all of the above. But I wanted to talk to McGovern about this specifically in the wake of Trump's somewhat alarming recent admission that, he rarely attends the briefings because he's "smart", and doesn't "have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years." Instead, Trump says, he sends his national security team to attend what McGovern describes as "the acme of the intelligence cycle, just to give you an awareness off how important the process is."

But our conversation soon moved to the various allegations --- still without evidence and said to be from unnamed intelligence sources citing secret National Security Estimates (NIEs) that some respectable critics say don't necessarily make a lot of sense --- charging that Russia hacked DNC and other emails during the campaign in hopes of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

In short, McGovern and his fellow team of longtime intelligence analysts, experts and whistleblowers believe the allegations are, in McGovern's words, 'a crock'. He explains why he and his colleagues recently released a memo explaining their dispute with the charges, and what they actually believe is at the root of the thousands of leaked emails. While I agree with Ray on the lack of evidence presented at this time in support of the claims against Russia, I am also skeptical of VIPS' assertions about what they believe really happened, as we discuss on today's show as well.

But, of course, I am always skeptical of anything that cannot be independently verified, especially when it comes to anonymous claims and secret evidence used to lead us into wars. McGovern offers some fascinating details and reminders on the show today as to why such skepticism is a very good idea! Unfortunately, similar skepticism seems to be all too rare these days in much of the rest of our media. Either way, I'll look forward to your thoughts on today's program...

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Guests: Election integrity filmmaker Lulu Friesdat, advocate Emily Levy
Plus: Few defectors, as Electoral College majority casts their votes for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2016 5:50pm PT  

It's another very busy day today on The BradCast with terror attacks in Europe, the Electoral College vote in the U.S., and our continuing attempt to figure out if the votes in Election 2016 were actually tallied as per voter intent. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Despite thousands of protesters at state capitols around the nation today, there were only a few defectors (so-called "faithless electors") for both for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as the Electoral College finally cast its votes today in 50 states and the District of Columbia. As of airtime, despite receiving a almost 3 million fewer votes than Clinton nationally, Trump had just received the requisite 270 votes, a majority of the Electoral College, needed to win the Presidency today. Presuming all state totals are certified by the U.S. Congress on January 6th (and I see no reason they wouldn't be), Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20th.

In the meantime, late last week, we learned that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- the federal agency responsible for certifying the accuracy and security of electronic voting and tabulation systems used across the U.S. --- was, itself, recently hacked, with about 100 user names and passwords put up for sale on the black market. The well known vulnerability exploited was one that experts say could have been easily patched (it has now been) and would have allowed access to a database of vulnerabilities in the nation's voting and tabulation systems.

The Commission might have patched its own system earlier, but its Commissioners were very busy before the election and after, ensuring the nation (in an op-ed that was incorrect and misleading on innumerable levels) that "election officials have been working to secure our voting systems for years," so concerns about any such manipulation of results "are overstated".

Then, my guests today are Lulu Friesdat, filmmaker of the award-winning election integrity documentary Holler Back: [not] Voting in American Town (which I am in, but it is excellent anyway) and longtime election integrity advocate Emily Levy of RecountNow.org. Both are just back from attempting to help oversee the statewide Presidential election "recount" in Wisconsin, as requested (and paid for) by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Friesdat shares her short, disturbing new video released on Friday, revealing what appear to be machine mistallies noted by observers during the statewide "recount" of ballots by computer optical-scanners in Racine County, WI, and a stymied attempt by one observer there, Liz Whitlock, to get a hand-count of the paper ballots in question. Citing the 5% error rate by the machines that observers tallied in one small precinct in WI, Friesdat notes: "A similar error rate applied across all of Wisconsin’s 2,976,150 votes --- could produce an error of 140,000 votes. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes."

Levy explains a troubling report from the attempted Presidential "recount" in Nevada (yes, there was one there too!), as filed by independent candidate "Rocky" De La Fuente. There, in the state said to have been won by Hillary Clinton, Clark County Clerk Joe Gloria appears to have admitted to secretly "recounting" votes prior to the lawful, public count of votes cast on the county's absentee paper ballots and completely unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. (In the 2004 Presidential "recount" in Ohio, two election officials were convicted and sentenced to the max for doing something similar in that state.)

As both explain on today's program, the long list of failures in the "recount" cases (and they describe many more such failures) have left both Friesdat and Levy even more concerned about the accuracy, security, reliability and ability to oversee our own election system than they were even prior to Election 2016. So, what can we all do about it? How can the system be improved to allow more transparency and oversight? We discuss all of that on today's show as well --- and it starts with you...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Micheal Baca, Presidential Elector from Colorado...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2016 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Will there be some form of an Electoral College mutiny when they gather to cast their votes for President of the United States next week? My guest today, one of those electors, suggests we may all be in "for a big surprise". [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

The 538 members of the Electoral College are finally set to cast their votes for President on Monday, December 19th. So far, just one GOP elector has publicly announced his intention to vote for someone other than Donald Trump (who, in 2012, railed that the U.S. Electoral College system was "a total sham", calling for "revolution" in response to a candidate winning the Electoral College while losing the national popular vote...as he did this year, by nearly 3 million votes, a record in U.S. history.)

But according to Harvard's Constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig, who has offered free legal support to electors considering voting for a candidate other than the one their state voted for, "there are now at least 20 GOP electors considering a vote of conscience." Lessig argues electors have a Constitutional right under federal law to vote for whomever they please, despite some state laws that apply fines or other penalties against so-called "faithless electors". (University of Chicago law prof Geoffrey Stone explained this week why he believes they are "faithful not faithless".)

Colorado Presidential Elector Micheal Baca, a former U.S. Marine, joins me today to discuss how he and other electors are planning to vote on Monday. Baca is part of a group calling themselves the Hamilton Electors, citing founder Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Papers explanation of the Electoral College as a device meant to prevent popular demagogues or otherwise unfit or unqualified candidates from becoming President.

Baca explains his own plan, as a Democratic elector, to vote for a compromise Republican candidate, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, rather than Hillary Clinton, in order to encourage GOP electors to do the same, in hopes of stopping Trump from winning the requisite 270 vote Electoral College majority. Baca explains why he believes information made available since the election reveals Trump to be unfit for office.

"On December 19th," Baca explains, "538 individual people --- not numbers on the map, not computer generated, not Wolf Blitzer numbers --- 538 people will be casting a ballot for the President of the United States of America. I believe that by reaching across party lines, I am putting my country above my party. And I may not agree ideologically on what the Republicans stand for, but Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our republic. And I believe that it's imperative in this election that we do exercise our conscience and our moral judgment."

Baca also tells me during our interview how he became an elector in the first place, the rather stunning way in which he is told the vote is set to occur on Monday in Colorado (with "pre-printed ballots"!), how his experience as a Marine has informed his position, and what he has learned from speaking to other electors, both Democratic and Republican, about how they plan to vote. He suggests a surprise could be ahead, even as I (and he, as well) remain skeptical.

"I try to operate my life with a healthy dose of skepticism," he tells me. "And until things are out in public, the only thing that I will confirm is that we have one public Republican elector. Are there others out there? I do believe so. Are they not public? I do believe so...I'm not Professor Lawrence Lessig [but] I don't think he would just speak without having any factual evidence."

Baca adds: "I think we were all in for a big surprise. Surprises happen. This is the year 2016. If there's a time in history, I believe this is the time."

Okay, then. Could be a big week ahead. Or not. It's a fascinating conversation that you may wish to listen to in full.

Also today: The Trump Transition team says a questionnaire sent to the Dept. of Energy seeking the names and backgrounds of climate scientists was "not authorized", and the Massachusetts Attorney General says it's time for ExxonMobil to "come clean" about their efforts to fund climate change denial, now that their CEO Rex Tillerson has been nominated by Trump as Secretary of State.

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Guest: Marcy Wheeler on U.S. intel agencies' 'secret' allegations about foreign interference in the Presidential race, as 'recount' ends in WI, is denied by courts again in MI, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2016 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, what we know and don't about newly reported charges that the CIA is said to believe Russian state-actors interfered in the U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, even as attempts to verify the actual Presidential election results, and concerns that they were hacked or otherwise in error, are blocked by Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania and come to an official close in Wisconsin. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Over the weekend, Washington Post and New York Times each reported on unnamed sources alleging a "secret" "consensus" of U.S. intelligence agencies charging Russia tried to interfere with the Presidential election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. National security journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel.net offers a measure of skepticism about the explosive reports on those allegations, which she suggests could echo what proved to be blatantly misrepresented and cherry-picked intel by the George W. Bush Administration in their run-up to the Iraq War.

We discuss what we know and don't know concerning the newly reported charges, which parties have an interested in forwarding them and why they are arising in this form now, and how those concerns can possibly square with seemingly contradictory resistance --- by both Republicans and Democrats alike --- to human verification of the stunning and poll-defying 2016 Presidential election results reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Speaking of which, late on Friday, a 3-2 split vote at the MI state Supreme Court denied a hearing of Green Party candidate Jill Stein's appeal of a 3-Republican judge decision that aborted the state's disastrous paper ballot hand-count last week. And today, a federal court in PA denied [PDF] Stein's lawsuit seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots and a forensic analysis of the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting and computer tabulation systems used across most of the state. Also today, the state of Wisconsin completed its partial statewide hand-count and certified Donald Trump as the winner of that state's electoral vote. (Final tallies are not yet available from the Wisconsin Election Commission, but as of earlier today Reuters reported "Trump with a increase of 628 votes, Clinton with an increase of 653 votes and Stein with an increase of 68 votes". Those are net increases, without reflecting the total number of originally-mistallied votes, nor explaining that most of the state's largest counties simply ran the hand-marked paper ballots back through the optical-scan computers again to derive their "recount" totals.)

All of that amidst a repeated, coordinated, well-funded and familiar efforts by Republicans and Team Trump to block any and all verification of Presidential election results in all three states. "Cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering have run roughshod over the democratic process," Stein said following Friday's Supreme Court decision in MI after tens of thousands of votes were deemed "unrecountable" due to the state's arcane "recount" laws while the attempted count was still underway last week. "A recount should not be this difficult or controversial. If you take out money from a bank, the teller counts it twice --- and the second time, they count it in front of your eyes. It should be well understood that something as important as a presidential election requires a basic level of quality assurance and verification."

We have all of the latest details on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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