New Documents Show Strzok Countermanded Closure Of Flynn Case For Lack Of Crime

peter-strzok-and-lisa-pageYesterday, I discussed the release of new FBI documents in a column and on the blog.  Much of the discussion yesterday concerned the disclosure of documents showing FBI officials debating how they could trap Flynn in a crime.  They focused on the Logan Act, a flagrantly unconstitutional law that has never been used to convict a single U.S. citizen.  These documents do not show prosecutors finding a way to arrest someone suspecting of a crime. They show prosecutors trying to create a crime.  However, there is also other evidence that is equally troubling over the role of one of the most controversial figures in the Russian investigation, fired former Special Agent Peter Strzok.  It now seems that it was Strzok who reached out to stop investigators from closing the Flynn case for lack of a crime. He then manufactured a crime. The response of media and legal experts to excuse this thuggish and abusive record is nothing short of breathtaking.

Strzok’s bias and violation of FBI rules led to career Justice Department investigators referring his case to prosecutors and led to his firing from the FBI. His emails showed intense bias against Donald Trump and highly concerning statements about having an “insurance policy” in place if Trump were to win the election.

It was previously known that the investigators who interviewed Flynn did not believe that he intentionally lied.  That made sense.  Flynn did not deny the conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Moreover, Flynn told the investigators that he knew that the call was inevitably monitored and that a transcript existed.  However, he did not recall discussing sanctions with Kislyak. There was no reason to hide such a discussion. Trump had publicly stated an intent to reframe Russian relations and seek to develop a more positive posture with them.

It  now appears that, on January 4, 2017, the FBI’s Washington Field Office issued a “Closing Communication” indicating that the bureau was terminating “CROSSFIRE RAZOR” — the newly disclosed codename for the investigation of Flynn.  That is when Strzok intervened.

Keep in mind CROSSFIRE RAZOR was formed to determine whether Flynn “was directed and controlled by” or “coordinated activities with the Russian Federation in a manner which is a threat to the national security” of the United States or a violation of federal foreign agent laws.  The FBI investigated Flynn and various databases and determined that “no derogatory information was identified in FBI holdings.” Due to this conclusion, the Washington Field Office concluded that Flynn “was no longer a viable candidate as part of the larger CROSSFIRE HURRICANE umbrella case.”

On that same day, however, Strzok instructed the FBI case manager handling CROSSFIRE RAZOR to keep the investigation open, telling him “Hey don’t close RAZOR.”  The FBI official replied, “Okay.” Strzok then confirmed again, “Still open right? And you’re the case agent? Going to send you [REDACTED] for the file.” The FBI official confirmed: “I have not closed it … Still open.” Strzok responded “Rgr. I couldn’t raise [REDACTED] earlier. Pls keep it open for now.”

Strzok also wrote FBI lawyer Lisa Page, the same person Strzok had referenced his “insurance policy” to in emails. Strzok texted Page: “Razor still open. :@ but serendipitously good, I guess. You want those chips and Oreos?” Page replied “Phew. But yeah that’s amazing that he is still open. Good, I guess.” Strzok replied “Yeah, our utter incompetence actually helps us. 20% of the time, I’m guessing :)”

That exchange is not disconcerting as Strzok’s actions.  After a finding of “no derogatory information,” Strzok reached for the Logan Act and sent a research paper on the notoriously unconstitutional law.  Thus, faced with a lack of evidence of any crime, Strzok’s response was to order the investigation be kept open and then focused attention on an unconstitutional law never used to convict a single person.  Its use against the incoming national security advisor to say it is a crime to discuss foreign relations with a Russian official during the transition would have been utterly absurd.

The same officials then sent two investigators into the White House, knowingly evading the long-standing rules of contacting the White House Counsel’s office in advance — something former FBI Director James Comey later bragged about and said that he “got away with it.”

So what happened then? We know that the investigators did not believe that Flynn intentionally lied to them about the sanctions discussion and told their superiors that they did not see evidence of a crime.  Later Robert Mueller and his staff proceeded to charge Flynn with the single count. They then drained Flynn of millions and threatened to prosecute his son. He proceeded to take the plea.

This is a record that should be an outrage to anyone who values the rule of law. Instead, various news outlets found experts to say that this is all standard stuff and even that courts have “blessed” such tactics.  So prosecutors, faced with reports that there is no crime by an individual, routinely create crimes in order to prosecute?  Apparently that happens all the time. 

National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss, stated that “These tactics, while maybe unseemly to the public, are largely consistent with the very type of deceptive interrogation techniques law enforcement has been permitted to use for at least 50 years.” Such responses avoid a discussion of whether such “unseemly” tactics are right or whether this case was abusive. It simply notes that courts have not intervened in cases where past abuses have been raised.  It is true that abuses occur and courts narrowly define their roles in the review of such conduct.  However, that is not license for such abuses and certainly not a reason not to address whether the conduct was right.

Renato Mariotti, a CNN legal analyst said that “If critics want to criticize what the FBI did to Flynn, they need to change the law more generally, because he was treated like many others the FBI has interviewed over the years.”  I have been a criminal defense attorney for decades and I have never seen a record like this where investigators find no evidence of a crime but prosecutors sit around to create a crime.  These experts simply ignore that Strzok prevented the closure of a criminal case for lack of any evidence of a crimes and suggested that they use a clearly unconstitutional law to charge the incoming National Security Adviser.  Moreover, none are asking why such an extraordinary effort would be made.

Journalist Ben Wittes, one of James Comey’s most vocal defenders, went even further:

“If you’re outraged by the FBI’s tactics with Flynn, keep in mind that they do these things every day against drug dealers, gang members, and terrorists. Except those people are black, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern—not “lock ‘er up” lily white.”

This is a variation of “they all do it” with a weird twist.  Many of us have spent our careers fighting such abuses for people who are not “lily white.”  That does not excuse abuses of people who are white.  Principle means fighting abuses against everyone.

There was no crime committed by Flynn before prosecutors manufactured a case under 18 U.S.C. 1001.  The reaction from the media is “well everyone does it” and some even noted that innocent people are charged all the time. The moral and ethical relativism is astonishing.  Many of these experts are the same lawyers who have said for three years that a long list of crimes were established against Trump from treason to bribery. None of those crimes were the basis for a single count of impeachment by the House of Representatives, which proceeded on two narrow counts connected to the Ukraine controversy.

What is so disconcerting is that it would take little effort to acknowledge that this record is highly disturbing and wrong, but not enough to throw out the plea. As I said last year, it is unlikely that Judge Sullivan will toss out the plea.  Yet, because such analysis would seem to benefit a Trump associate, the media has aligned itself with an outrageous record of bias and abuse.  There was a time when MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post and other outlets were voices against such prosecutorial abuse. However, in this age of rage, even this record is dismissed as “routine” to avoid undermining a crushingly consistent narrative that the Russian investigation was based on real crimes, albeit collateral crimes.  The “nothing to see here” coverage sacrifices both legal and journalistic values to to maintain a transparently biased narrative.




120 thoughts on “New Documents Show Strzok Countermanded Closure Of Flynn Case For Lack Of Crime”

  1. Now that’s the face of an honest man. Strait forward truthfullness, and certainly no smugness. A man of the people.

  2. What about Judge Emmet Sullivan in all of this? I wonder how many 100s or 1,000s of defendants were wrongly convicted by the pompous rage of this misguided and misinformed judge. Isn’t he curious at all about the oddities of this case? Does he blindly accept everything the FBI and government authorities spew as gospel? maybe he is also a FISA court judge as well? What an embarrassment to the bench!

  3. “We will stop him.”

    – Peter Strzok to FBI paramour, Lisa Page

    “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    – Lisa Page to FBI paramour, Peter Strzok


  4. JT: “This is a record that should be an outrage to anyone who values the rule of law.”

    Yeah, we’ve been saying this for years. Good to see Turley finally come to Jesus.

  5. I think my comment on the earlier piece by Professor Turley rings true here as well.

    “A great civilization is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.” __Will Durant

    1. Allan – Regarding Durant’s Communist sympathies:

      In his late-life musings in “Fallen Leaves” he was an apologist for the brutalities of the Soviet regime.

      1. Young, I am not a Durant expert and I don’t know what type of an apologist he was regarding the brutalities of the Soviet regime. I think he was one of the leading experts on the Soviet Union and strongly disliked them. He was also a philosopher of some sorts and I believe God became more important to him as he became older (not sure). That wouldn’t make him much of an apologist for the Soviet Union. I would like to see passages of his book that demonstrate that fact to me.

        I could make all sorts of historical and geographical references to the Soviet Union that might help explain why they developed the way they did. However, that is not being an apologist for the Soviet Union even though some might claim that the “excuses” are.

  6. Shocking revelations of Stasi-like abuse in the FBI and DOJ.

    Shocking lack of interest in the media.

    Let us not be shocked that nothing comes of this.

    The country is waiting. Doing nothing will not be a disappointment; it will be a catastrophe.

    1. Don’t worry Young. The slide into greater centralization and ever more secret-police intrigues is probably irreversible. At this point, Bonapartism seems like the least harmful alternative.

      Just figure out how to put your own champion on the throne, that’s all we have time to do anymore. There is no realistic hope of reclaiming and restoring a fanciful past of ordered liberty etc etc. when the population has declined so far as it has. Just grab the tools at the top of the box and don’t worry about the old ones that are lost.

      Or survive it all, if you can’t lay hold of any tools at all. But good luck if you can’t.

      1. Kurtz – One can hope for a Bonaparte but the trend in the last century has been toward Stalin.

        I have been unpleasantly surprised at the spread of Little Stalins, like a giant, poisonous black mold, spreading through state and local governments. I had hoped they wouldn’t, but many truly seem to have the instinct and appetite for strict authoritarianism. I guess part of the problem is that so few seem to understand how constitutional government is supposed to work. I imagine it isn’t taught much these days and, in any event, we would need instructors able to understand it themselves.

        Professor Turley is politically left of me but he appears to be superbly competent on this subject. Our academies need a lot more like him and those equally skilled and competent to the right of him..

        I have thought before, for that matter, that very basic law as it exists in our system should be taught in public school as well. It should not be so much a mystery to a layman.

        1. we have civics classes but they stink. because the schools and teachers stink. so do the students. the people decay, the process is organic

          left versus right is often just a useless diametric. centralization versus decentralization is a trend that is more useful to watch. but that too varies over relevant territorial organizations.

          the real reason to watch current events is not to “help” the Republic. it will come or it will go no matter what we say here.

          realistically we are all grains of sand, leaves of grass. The real motivation is see where things are headed, so we can better direct our own small activities to advance life itself, which is always worth living

          1. Kurtz — Good thoughts. I am leaning that way myself. Hunker down and trust and live for family and close friends. The reaction to Trump by the increasingly demented left has led me to doubt the integrity of the entire system. It’s a good design, but it can’t work with bad people.

            1. Young,
              I had a discussion group in a social media forum several years ago and it really was not much different from what we see here. Lot’s of problems with the usual, if we do this that will go away recommendations. I decided to conduct a root cause analysis. I asked this question We have many problems with many causes, but is there one root cause? I ran that for a year and 1000 post later, we had concluded 3 root causes which we labeled the 3-legged stool of self-government::
              1. Lack of civics literacy.
              2. Lack of civics engagement (apathy).
              3. Citizens are dependent on government.

              If we don’t reverse all 3, then this will only get worse.

  7. You do tend to forget the overall societal spectacle here. But there are groups of people out there living in a world where the Russians have invaded the country and Trump and his gang are in on it. At some point in the future there’ll be psychoanalysis for the causes of this.

    Incidentally, I have a book coming out shortly on how they rigged the moon landing.

  8. Stzok is just a pawn in this phony story of Flynn lying to the FBI.

    The real players in this phony story that Flynn lied to the FBI are Trump, Comey, Mueller and yes Flynn himself. Those are the players that kept this fictional story alive for 3 years after it did not happen. And they all knew all along that it did not happen — Flynn had not lied to the FBI and they all knew it.

    Trump fired Flynn for lying to the VP and the FBI. Neither of those things happened.
    It was Pence that was lying and Flynn took the fall.

    Then Comey and Trump pretended that Trump was pressuring Comey to “let Flynn go” and Comey lied to Congress about it to make this phony story that Trump was pressuring Comey seem real. And of course Trump fueled the deception with tweets.

    Then Trump fired Comey supposedly because Comey had acted improperly and unproffessionally for (on more than one occasion) spilling the beans about Hillary Clinton being the subject of criminal investigations. A legitimate reason for firing Comey but hardly one that Trump cared about since it had helped Trump get elected.

    Then Trump met with Mueller on May 16 and the next day Trump’s boy Rosenstein appointed Mueller as Special Counsel

    Then Mueller and Flynn kept the phony story that Flynn lied alive for another 3 years.

    Meanwhile in the summer of 2017, after Mueller first hired Strzok and Page and then turned right around and fired them, Strzok and Page both testified to Congress that the FBI investigation into Trump campaign and Russia Collusion had already been closed before Comey was fired. They had found nothing. But Comey, Trump, Flynn, Rosenstein and Mueller were not going to let that phony story die and they kept the phony Russiagate story alive for two more years.
    When Congress asked Comey (before and after he was fired) if the Russia/Trump investigation was still open he refused to answer. And Trump, Mueller and Flynn did their part in keeping the phony charade alive.

      1. do you write for Ancient Aliens?
        Is that the sort of question you ask when you can’t deal with the facts presented to you?

        The Mueller investigation never had anything to investigate from the beginning. The whole thing was a hollow shell from the beginning. The only thing that kept the Mueller investigation alive was a steady stream of tweets and leaks from the White House. And in response to the tweets and leaks the news media played its role of hyperventilating that the whole Trump House of Cards was now (once again) about to collapse. And they did this over and over and over,

          1. HA HA HA now the first video switched back to what it was supposed to be

  9. It’s amazing the lengths guys will go to impress a chick in an attempt to get laid. And it worked. Homewrecker Lisa Page fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

  10. That Peter Sztrok was promoted within the ranks at the FBI for 20 years is indicative of something rancid in its institutional culture. Fire the top three echelons and break it up into about six pieces.

    Mr. Durham, if this is not criminal conduct, just what is it?

    1. I think Durham is a slacker.

      At the same time it’s very hard to nail a cop. Of any kind. Especially a secret policemen engaged in palace intrigue.

      This is why “wet work” is the actual best solution for miscreants who strike at the legitimate head of government.

  11. JT is a liar. He’s too smart to say wrong things every day.

    Strzok was fired not for bias, but for using an agency phone for personal use which was embarrassing to the agency. After an investigation into his conduct during the Clinton investigation by an IG, nothing he did otherwise was deemed unprofessional, and especially in the execution of his duties as an agent. No one has lodged any complaint relating to his actions as an agent demonstrating bias and agents have a 1st amendment right to personal political opinions as do all Americans. You can bet your ass there are right wing agents too.

    Flynn was prosecuted for lying to the FBI. He lied about a meeting he had with a Russian ambassador to tell him not to worry about sanctions Obama had placed on his country for interfering in our election to help Flynn’s boss. He’s a traitor

    “…Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador. Specifically, Flynn falsely denied that he had asked Russia’s ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on December 29, 2016, “to refrain from escalating … in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.”[141]….”

    Since then Trump has done nothing – nothing – about continued Russian interference in our elections and has publicly and literally taken Putin’s side against our intelligence agencys’ assessments.

    1. This blows your argument out of the water. The handwritten notes — written by the FBI’s former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, “What is our goal?” one of the notes read. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

      1. Gabby, he’s a traitor who was undercutting US policy to punish Russia for interfering in our election to help his boss get elected. Hellloooo!! Is that OK with you? What’s wrong with trying to get “Truth/admission ……prosecute or fire him”?

        Records show he was checking in with a “senior Trump advisor” after his talks with the Russian. Too bad he wouldn’t give him up. Mueller tried.

        1. Well, you say it’s Trump. You use a strong word. If there is a traitor, well, I think the traitor is Stroke.

          I say he’s the one engaged in extralegal ultra-vires activity and the best solution for him is summary extralegal punishment.

          1. Mika is paid to avoid the truth and push drivel to promote the DNC view.

      2. Gabby, you are responding to someone who is best represented by John Leguizamo. No offense to Leguizamo. When the Left resorts to their supposedly having a higher moral standing, you know it is all parody.

  12. I appreciate what Turley is writing about here. But there is a general problem in the criminal code is there not? A charge of lying should require linkage to an illegal act. Otherwise you encourage police behavior like this and tend to wind up with absurd results.

    Absurd results like a farcical impeachment of a President for lying about a consensual affair that was nobody’s business.

    The criminal law books have been out of control for a while now. That is why terms like perjury trap and selective prosecution are now part of the popular lexicon — and rightly so.

    1. Steve, despite JT’s announcement that the Logan Act is unconstitutional, his opinion is worthless and it is still on the books, and recently amended (1994). As such it should be enforced. It is true there have been no convictions but JT might have mentioned – along with his unproven claim that it is unconstitutional – that 2 have been indicted under it.

      Flynn lied about something he did which would fall under the Logan Act and would also prove embarrassing – telling the Russians there would be no penalty for helping his boss get elected. Maybe that’s OK with you and most posters here, but if it’s not illegal, it f…ng well should be.

      1. I see. Hoover’s F.B.I. was just doing a good faith investigation here. If it’s so obvious to you that Flynn violated the Logan Act, why was he not charged with it. He is charged, in your view, with lying about activity that violated the Logan Act. But was not charged with the “illegal” activity he engaged in.

        1. He lied to the FBI. He pled guilty. We know why. That is not “my story” Steve, it is the facts. Try them some time.

          1. Well then tell the F.B.I. to put their money where your mouth is and charge him appropriately. The criminal code should not enable law enforcement to charge merely for lying. Best to err on the side of constraining law enforcement.

          2. Anon – he didn’t lie, however he did plead guilty when he was bankrupt and they were going to go after his son. He fell on his sword. The FBI lied and spied and ruined an honorable man.

            1. Note, in your standard-issue state law code, perjury and related offenses applies to false statements in oral testimony under oath, false statements in sworn affidavits, and false statements in written statements with a jurat attached. This last is a misdemeanor in New York. Obstructing public administration, impersonating a public official, and hindering prosecution are all crimes in New York. However, lying when not under oath is a means of committing these crimes, not the crime itself.

              Challenging criminal investigations at the state level incorporate back-and-forth in interrogation rooms where the subject of the inquiry is being less than forthcoming for one reason or another. What’s grossly amusing is that the police in Slidell, Louisiana will record such interrogations on videotape but wouldn’t dream of prosecuting a prevaricating target or witness in most cases and the FBI refuses to record such interrogations but reserves the right to charge people.

              About 15 years ago, a retired FBI agent hired to do a background investigation shows up in my office and begins amiably pumping one of the staff about someone who had at one time worked there. He chuckled about people being charged with lying to the FBI. “In my day, we assumed the people we talked to were lying to us”.

        2. The FBI of today makes Hoover look better than the “historians” have treated him

      2. His opinion is well qualified and well argued.

        When you say the Professor is worthless, you show your own level clearly.

    2. A charge of lying should require linkage to an illegal act. Otherwise you encourage police behavior like this and tend to wind up with absurd results.
      Tens of thousands of Americans are serving prison sentences because what you describe is standard police operating procedure.

  13. His attorney says that the DOJ have turned over far worse & nefarious documents to her, that they are in process of getting unsealed. Mueller team was nothing but corrupt criminals on a political hitjob.

    What Obama did makes Watergate look like jaywalking.
    This SHOULD be horrifying Americans that our FBI and DOJ are so corrupted at the highest levels and down. That they would open use their powers for political attacks and frame an innocent man and bankrupt him.

    Anyone defending the Feds or Mueller needs to be deported to China where they will fit right in because they clearly hate this country and what it is supposed to stand for. Liberty.

    1. Hold on; I am not clear that the illegal acts of Stroke and company were ordered by Obama. He may have approved of some operations in general, but what is the proof he knew they were lying and making things up? Im serious. I am not aware of such proof. Let me know if its out there.

      Or do you assume the Deep State such as it may be, loved Obama so much? I wouldnt be too sure about that.

      Comey was the boss of the FBI and he’s responsible for errant FBI agents in the first instance. If they were lying in FISA warrant affidavits, which they were, Comey is responsible for that as their boss.

      I am not aware of why this should be blamed on Obama. I don’t assume that he was Hillary’s servant in all this. That is an assumption that people make casually and Im not sure why. They were rivals. Or did she have something on Obama which allowed her to command him from below? I dont know of any such thing nor any proof that she did. I do wonder sometimes why he let her run amuck as Secretary of State however. Maybe there is something that we dont know about this.

      It’s not fully clear why the agents were lying in the first place. Failure to prosecute them is leaving a lot of important questions unanswered. It needs to happen fast. If they all walk with no accountability that is an even worse outcome. There must be punishment.

      Without law, no punishment,

      But without punishment, there is no law.

  14. If you find yourself trying to defend the FBI in their abusive tactics against Gen. Flynn, just remember this is exactly the useful idiot support needed to become a 3rd world banana republic. Prove me wrong.

  15. For anyone still supporting the tainted remnants of a corrupt obama administration I say, you either remain willfully ignorant out of an ideological thrall or you just don’t have the grey matter to comprehend that vast ugliness before you.

    1. Alma Carman – Shirley you jest. The Obama years were scandal free. Obama said so.

      1. Sorry, must have lost my head in a rash moment of truthful and uncensored thought. Promise I will conform and not think again./sarc

  16. The correct headline is “Stzrok and FBI Intentionally Lied To Entrap Gen Flynn and Manufacture a Fake Mueller Investigation”.

  17. Thank God Gen. Flynn has a superb atty now who has been ripping the DoJ a new one. 🙂

  18. Strozk, Page, Comey, Yates, Brennan, McCabe, Wissman and many others need to be prosecuted and spend time behind bars. Barr and Durham need to clean house of the FBI and DOJ.

    Also, former Whitehouse staff, which had to be involved no matter who they were need to pay a severe price.

    1. I think inaction from Barr and Durham means the wrongs of this saboteur, this seditionist, this errant agent bent on overthrowing a lawful head of state and his duly appointed ministers, need to be rectified the old fashioned way.

      1. Because the culture of the Democratic Party is fundamentally sociopathic, they’ll be deterred only by pain.

        1. Yes thats so but here we are talking about FBI agents and the agency itself must be cautioned against this kind of intrigue. Punished from above. They need to understand that the civilian head of government is indeed the head of government and they are subordinate. If the bosses like Comey walk then at the very least the agents need something to make them pause before they allow themselves to become pawns. The pawn must be made to understand that he is going to be discarded by the mischief of the boss like Comey and nothing will save him.Then the other pawns will look, see, understand, and be more reluctant to play pawn in the future.

          If there is not going to be judicial punishment there has to be extrajudicial punishment but there has to be punishment or we might as well consign ourselves to letting the FBI boss pick who wins elections.

          I think Democrats felt this way about Comey for a while too and some still do. If Comey is too big a boss for the article III branch to rectify then let the Article II POTUS do it summarily. His constitutional authority is plain. The FBI is not above him. The FBI can’t be allowed to game the elections by badgering candidates. Let him act and strike at this Cassius and I will be 100% behind him on it. Me and tens of millions others.

  19. You say that the FBI threatened to prosecute his son, and that was part of the plea deal. Interesting that you neglect to say what they were investigating his son for and whether it would have been a crime. Certainly, in any plea bargain, people often plead guilty to things like lying to investigators to avoid prosecution for other crimes. How convenient Flynn waits out the Mueller team dissolving before he tries to withdraw his guilty plea and is left to a Bill Barr led politically motivated justice department to follow through on his reprosecution.

    This is nonsense. Flynn knee he was lying and knew lying to the FBI was a crime, as he told the judge when he pled guilty.

    1. I hope you’re not deluded enough to believe what you just posted.

    2. Herbert- your accurate statement won’t be received well around here. Once again, Turley’s inaccurate analysis demonstrates his desire to be appointed a judge by Trump. If you want to read something more objective go read Emptywheel. As she points out, Flynn was clearly a security threat at the time he was interviewed.

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