March 22, 2019

‘HIGHLY PROFITABLE SCAM’: SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER ‘RIPPING OFF DONORS,’ FORMER STAFFER SAYS

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a “highly profitable scam” that “never lived up to the values it espoused,” according to former SPLC staffer Bob Moser.

New York Magazine on Thursday published a scathing essay from Moser, now a Rolling Stone reporter, accusing the left-wing non-profit of “ripping off donors” while turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks.

The SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13 over unspecified conduct issues.

The SPLC announced Dees’ firing after roughly two dozen SPLC employees previously signed a letter to the organization’s leadership expressing their alarm at “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

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March 21, 2019

TRUMP SAYS JOHN MCCAIN PUT HIM IN ‘JEOPARDY’ BY GIVING DOSSIER TO FBI

Trump ramped up his attacks on McCain in the wake of court documents that revealed details about the Republican lawmaker’s handling of the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele. Trump’s comments have drawn rebuke from some Republicans, including Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, who called the remarks “deplorable.”

McCain and an associate, David Kramer, were first told about Steele’s report Nov. 18, 2016. At McCain’s direction, Kramer to travel to London to meet with Steele, a former MI6 officer.

Kramer obtained a copy of the report and provided it to McCain. McCain met with Comey at FBI headquarters Dec. 9, 2016. He long claimed he had no idea whether the allegations in the dossier were accurate, but he said the FBI should investigate. Unknown to McCain at the time, the FBI had already obtained Steele’s report through several other channels.

Kramer, a former State Department official, speculated in a Dec. 13, 2017, deposition that Steele and Fusion GPS chose McCain so a Republican, rather than a Democrat, could present the dossier to Comey.

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March 20, 2019

FORMER PROSECUTOR REVEALS HE CONSIDERED TAPING PHONE CALL WITH TRUMP

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said during a Tuesday interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber that he considered secretly recording a phone call with President Donald Trump back in 2017.

“While there are critiques of Donald Trump that allege that he is not that informed or not that good at this, your concern was that he might be very informed and trying to cultivate you or involve you in something that you viewed as potentially improper,” Melber stated.

Bharara, who was famously fired by Trump after refusing to resign, answered, “Yeah. I have come to that conclusion over time in the months since. But, in that moment we actually considered, and it sounds not as crazy as it did back then because now we know about Michael Cohen recording the president and Omarosa recording the president.”

“You considered what?” the host followed up.

“Taping the president in that phone call,” Bharara responded. “Yeah, because I wanted to make sure because I had a certain amount of mistrust — it was an odd phone call to be making. It would be my word against his, if he decides to say something inappropriate, which I didn’t necessarily know was going to happen.”

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March 19, 2019

ANOTHER HIGH-PROFILE PROSECUTOR LEFT THE MUELLER TEAM

A Justice Department official who worked on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s case is leaving the special counsel’s office, a spokesman for Robert Mueller said Monday.

“Zainab Ahmad has concluded her detail with the Special Counsel’s Office but will continue to represent the office on specific pending matters that were assigned to her during her detail,” special counsel spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement, first reported by Yahoo! News.

Ahmad’s departure is the latest signal that Mueller’s probe is nearing its end. Carr confirmed Thursday that Andrew Weissmann, the high-profile Mueller prosecutor who handled cases against Paul Manafort, is planning to leave the team.

Ahmad, a counterterrorism prosecutor, is one of the Mueller team members to sign Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI regarding his contacts with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn has cooperated with several investigations as part of his plea agreement. He is expected to testify later in 2019 in a trial against his former business partner, Bijan Kian. Kian was indicted on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey.

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March 18, 2019

TRUMP SAYS SHEP SMITH, FOX NEWS WEEKEND HOSTS SHOULD BE WORKING AT CNN

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that Fox News host Shepard Smith should be working at CNN along with two of the network’s weekend anchors, Arthel Neville and Leland Vittert.

He also wondered if the two weekenders were “trained by CNN” before the network’s “ratings collapse.”

“Were @FoxNews weekend anchors, @ArthelNeville and @LelandVittert, trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse?” Trump tweeted. “In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!”

While the president’s reason for criticizing Neville and Vittert was unclear, Shepard Smith has long drawn the ire of conservative Fox News viewers. Last year, the anchor finished dead last by a mile in a Daily Caller poll of favorite Fox News anchors.

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March 15, 2019

JOHN MCCAIN ASSOCIATE HAD CONTACT WITH A DOZEN REPORTERS REGARDING STEELE DOSSIER


  • David Kramer, a former State Department official, revealed in a court deposition that he had contact with a dozen reporters regarding the infamous Steele dossier.
  • Kramer, a longtime associate of John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier, which alleges a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin.
  • Kramer provided the dossier to CNN’s Carl Bernstein, as well as to several government officials, including Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

An associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain described in detail his contacts with a dozen journalists and several government officials regarding the infamous Steele dossier, according to a transcript of a court deposition unsealed Thursday.

David Kramer, a former State Department official, said in a deposition on Dec. 13, 2017 that he provided a copy of Christopher Steele’s dossier to reporters from McClatchy, NPR, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed and CNN’s Carl Bernstein.

He also shared the report with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Counsel official Celeste Wallander and Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Kramer’s deposition sheds new light on the campaign by Steele and his employer, Fusion GPS, to disseminate the dossier to the press and government officials.

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March 14, 2019

CHARITY BACKED BY SILICON VALLEY TECH TITANS GAVE $500K TO FUSION GPS-LINKED GROUP

  • A former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who has worked with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele quietly formed a pro-democracy nonprofit group in 2018 called Advance Democracy Inc. 
  • A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found that a multi-billion dollar charity backed by Silicon Valley tech titans donated $500,000 to the group last year.
  • The staffer operates a similar charity called The Democracy Integrity Project, which receives funding from George Soros. He allegedly told one associate that the group operates as a “shadow media organization” that works with the U.S. government. 
A Silicon Valley charity gave $500,000 to a nonprofit group founded by a former Senate staffer who is working with Fusion GPS and Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which has received significant funding from tech industry billionaires, gave the donation in 2018 to Advance Democracy Inc., a Virginia-based 501(c)(3) group, according to a database the recipient group runs.

A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found that Advance Democracy shares the same address as The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), another nonprofit group started by a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer for California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Jones.

Mystery surrounds both of Jones’s operations. The identities of both groups’ donors have largely been kept secret, as Jones has avoided revealing his backers.

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March 13, 2019

LISA PAGE TESTIMONY MAY HAVE PUT OBAMA AG LORETTA LYNCH IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins released the private testimony of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, but it’s former Attorney General Loretta Lynch who may feel the sting.

According to Page’s testimony, which was made public on Tuesday, the FBI considered charging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with gross negligence under 18 U.S. Code § 793 for her alleged handling of classified information.

“We had multiple conversations with the Justice Department about bringing a gross negligence charge,” Page told Republican Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe. “And that’s, as I said, the advice that we got from the Department was that they did not think — that it was constitutionally vague and not sustainable.”

Ratcliffe responded, “When you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: ‘You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to.'”

“That’s correct,” Page answered.

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March 12, 2019

CHUCK GRASSLEY PRESSED MUELLER OVER ‘SELECTIVE USE’ OF EMAILS IN TRUMP ADVISER’S COURT FILINGS


  • Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller quoted selectively from Trump campaign emails in court filings in the case against George Papadopoulos.
  • In a “statement of offense” in the Papadopoulos case, Mueller suggested the Trump campaign wanted a “low-level” campaign staffer to meet with Russian government officials.
  • Grassley claims other campaign emails provide additional context showing that the Trump team wanted a campaign aide merely to reject offers to meet with Russians.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley pressed special counsel Robert Mueller regarding the “selective use” of emails in court filings in the case against former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

In a letter sent Friday to Attorney General William Barr, Grassley referred to a letter he sent Mueller on Nov. 16, 2017, two weeks after prosecutors revealed that Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Grassley said that prosecutors’ “statement of offense” against Papadopoulos quoted selectively from campaign emails in a way that suggested the Trump campaign wanted a low-level staffer to meet with Russians.

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March 11, 2019

DARK MONEY ORG GAVE $2 MILLION TO GROUP WORKING WITH FUSION GPS, STEELE


  • A dark money group based in California contributed $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, the organization that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to investigate President Donald Trump.
  • The Democracy Integrity Project’s founder, a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has acknowledged to the FBI that the group provides information to the press, lawmakers and investigators.
  • Fund for a Better Future is the second Democracy Integrity Project donor to have been identified. George Soros gave $1 million to the group.

A dark money group with links to several high-profile liberal activists contributed $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, an organization founded by a former Dianne Feinstein staffer that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to investigate President Donald Trump.

Fund for a Better Future (FBF) donated $2,065,000 to The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) in 2017, according to IRS filings reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

TDIP was founded on Jan. 31, 2017, by Daniel Jones, a consultant who worked for Feinstein, a California Democrat, when she controlled the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jones has disclosed to the FBI that he hired Fusion GPS and Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, to continue an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

He also told an associate that TDIP operated as a “shadow media organization helping the government.” Jones suggested to the associate, Adam Waldman, that his TDIP team planted several anti-Trump articles.

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March 8, 2019

PAUL MANAFORT SENTENCED TO 47 MONTHS IN PRISON IN FRAUD CASE

A federal judge in Virginia sentenced Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison Thursday on tax and bank fraud charges, a term much lighter than the sentence the former Trump campaign chairman faced under federal sentencing guidelines.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said guidelines calling for 19 to 24.5 years in prison for Manafort were “excessive.”

Manafort, 69, said in remarks before the sentence was handed down that his life is in “shambles.” He will be sentenced later in March in a separate case in Washington, D.C., where the judge in that case, Amy Berman Jackson, will determine if Manafort can serve a sentence in that case concurrently with his Virginia sentence.

Manafort was convicted on eight fraud-related charges Aug. 21, 2018. He pleaded guilty Sept. 14 to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work for the Ukrainian government.

Manafort worked as a press relations guru from 2004 through 2014 for Viktor Yanukovych, who served as Ukraine’s president from Feb. 25, 2010, to Feb. 22, 2014.

None of the charges against Manafort involved allegations of collusion with the Russian government, as Ellis noted during Thursday’s hearing.

“He is not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government,” Ellis said.

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March 7, 2019

LANNY DAVIS SAYS COHEN DIRECTED LAWYER TO SEEK TRUMP PARDON, CONTRADICTING TESTIMONY

A lawyer for Michael Cohen says that the former Trump fixer directed his former attorney to inquire about a presidential pardon, a claim which, if true, would contradict Cohen’s congressional testimony on Feb. 27.

Lanny Davis told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday night that Cohen instructed Stephen Ryan, his previous lawyer, to raise the prospect of a pardon shortly after the FBI raided Cohen’s home in April 2018.

“During that time period, [Cohen] directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump,” Davis told The Journal.

That statement directly contradicts what Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in public testimony on Feb. 27.

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March 6, 2019

OCASIO-CORTEZ DENIES VIOLATING CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS AFTER FEC COMPLAINT

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denied violating campaign finance laws Tuesday in response to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint alleging she and her chief of staff set up a million-dollar private slush fund.

“There is no violation,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative government watchdog, accused Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff, of illegally funneling money between political action committees (PACs) and private companies that were both controlled by Chakrabarti.

The NLPC claims that the transfers from the PACs to the LLCs were part of an “extensive” plan to avoid reporting campaign expenditures to the FEC.

Fox also asked Ocasio-Cortez if she is connected to “dark money,” to which she replied, “No, no.”

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March 5, 2019

OCASIO-CORTEZ AND HER CHIEF OF STAFF ‘COULD BE FACING JAIL TIME’ IF THEIR CONTROL OVER PAC WAS INTENTIONALLY HIDDEN, FORMER FEC COMMISSIONER SAYS


  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a top aide appear to control an outside PAC credited with being the central force behind her June 2018 primary victory.
  • One former Federal Election Commission member thinks there would be a “serious investigation” if a complaint were filed, noting that the probe could potentially result in civil penalties or even jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff.
  • A second former commissioner said there were possibly “multiple violations of federal campaign finance law.”
  • Justice Democrats ran campaigns for Ocasio-Cortez and 11 other Democrats, but the New York Democrat was the only one to win her general election.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. If the Federal Election Commission (FEC) finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,” former FEC commissioner Brad Smith said.

Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations. The group backed 12 Democrats during the 2018 midterms, but Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of those to win her general election.

“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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March 4, 2019

ANDREW MCCABE DEFENDS FBI’S USE OF STEELE DOSSIER, CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE


  • Andrew McCabe claimed in a recent interview that the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants against Carter Page were “adequate.”
  • McCabe also discussed the FBI’s use of an informant used to make contact with several Trump campaign advisers, including Page and George Papadopoulos.
  • Republicans have dubbed the Page surveillance warrants and use of the informant, Stefan Halper, “Spygate.”

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is defending the FBI’s reliance on the Steele dossier as well as the bureau’s use of a confidential informant to make contact with the Trump campaign as part of an investigation into possible collusion with Russia.

In an interview as part of a recent book tour, McCabe disputed Republicans’ claims that the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court about aspects of the dossier in applications warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

And in his book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” McCabe defended the use of an informant who appears to be Stefan Halper, a longtime FBI and CIA informant who cozied up to Page and two other Trump advisers, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos, during the 2016 campaign.

“I do believe that we adequately notified the FISA Court of the information we were using, and what we thought of the information,” McCabe told New York Times reporter Adam Goldman in an interview that aired on C-SPAN on Saturday.

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February 25, 2019

ADAM SCHIFF ‘ABSOLUTELY’ WILLING TO GO TO COURT TO OBTAIN MUELLER REPORT

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that House Democrats will issue subpoenas and go to court, if necessary, to obtain special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.

“We will obviously subpoena the report. We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court if necessary,” Schiff said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mueller is expected to submit a final report to the Department of Justice within weeks. From there, the Justice Department is required to provide a summary of the findings to Congress, which could then choose to make unclassified portions of the report public.

But Democrats have said they are concerned Attorney General William Barr will withhold key portions of the report. Barr, who was confirmed to office Feb. 14, has said he plans to provide as much transparency as possible, though he has stopped short of committing to a full release of the document.

Schiff said in addition to the report itself, he wants to see the underlying evidence collected by Mueller during his 21-month probe. Mueller, who was appointed special counsel May 17, 2017, indicted more than three dozen individuals, including several Trump associates, during the investigation, but none for a conspiracy with Russians.

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February 22, 2019

IRS ANALYST CHARGED WITH LEAKING MICHAEL COHEN’S FINANCIAL RECORDS

An analyst with the Internal Revenue Service was charged Thursday with leaking the financial records of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

An affidavit submitted in the case reveals that John C. Fry, the analyst, placed several phone calls to attorney Michael Avenatti before and after he accessed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) that had been filed by Cohen’s banks with the Treasury Department.

Avenatti, an attorney for Stormy Daniels, had posted a dossier of Cohen’s financial reports on May 8, 2018. The records showed that Cohen received payments from several companies, including Novartis and AT&T, as well as a company associated with Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch.

The documents released by Avenatti also contained financial records of a different Michael Cohen.

According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Fry first accessed the IRS’s database of SARs on May 4, 2018 and downloaded five documents related to Cohen. “Immediately” after downloading the reports, Fry called a phone number associated with Avenatti, the agent said.

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February 21, 2019

‘THESE PEOPLE ARE DEMONS’: ROGER STONE TRASHES CNN OVER PRISON RAPE COMMENTS

Former Trump adviser Roger Stone is lashing out at CNN after one of the network’s contributors called him a “dandy” and warned that he could be raped in prison.

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen noted that Stone is perhaps in even more legal trouble after posting an Instagram photo with crosshairs over the federal judge presiding over his case. Stone’s home was raided in January after he was indicted on charges of making false statements to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of a government proceeding. 

“Roger Stone must also worry that if he goes there, he is seen as something of a dandy,” Gergen said of Stone’s potential to land in prison. “Will he be physically safe? Will he be subject to rape? There must be a lot of things going through his mind.”

“Dandy” refers to a man who focuses intensely on physical appearance, but is also sometimes used as a gay slur.

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February 20, 2019

FBI USED CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES WHO ‘ALREADY HAD’ TRUMP CAMPAIGN CONTACTS, BUREAU LAWYER TOLD CONGRESS


  • An FBI official testified to Congress in August that the bureau relied on confidential sources in addition to Christopher Steele who had pre-established contact with the Trump campaign as part of “Crossfire Hurricane.”
  • Trisha Anderson testified that some of the FBI’s sources “already had campaign contacts.” 
  • An alleged FBI informant named Stefan Halper met with several Trump aides during the campaign, though the bureau has not acknowledged he was a confidential source.

A top FBI official acknowledged in congressional testimony last year that the bureau’s investigation of the Trump campaign relied in part on confidential sources who had established contacts with Trump campaign advisers.

Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel, told congressional investigators in an Aug. 31, 2018 deposition that the FBI relied on sources who “already had campaign contacts” to gather the information from Trump’s team.

“To my knowledge, the FBI did not place anybody within a campaign but, rather, relied upon its network of sources, some of whom already had campaign contacts, including the source that has been discussed in the media at some length beyond Christopher Steele,” Anderson said, according to The Epoch Times, which published portions of Anderson’s testimony on Tuesday.

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February 19, 2019

ROGER STONE FORMALLY APOLOGIZES TO JUDGE HANDLING HIS CASE

Roger Stone issued a formal apology Monday to the federal judge handling his case in the special counsel’s investigation.

“Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted,” Stone wrote in a statement submitted by his attorneys. “I had no intention of disrespecting the Court and humbly apologize to the Court for the transgression.”

Stone posted a graphic to his Instagram account earlier Monday that showed U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson placed in front of a set of crosshairs.

“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime. #fixisin Help me fight for my life at @StoneDefenseFund.com,” Stone wrote in the post, which has since been deleted. Stone claimed he did not realize that the crosshairs were in the graphic

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