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Live updates as US House of Representatives votes to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

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US President Donald Trump has been impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power related to his dealings with Ukraine

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Which Democrats voted against impeachment?

Two Democrats voted against impeachment, and one voted against the obstruction of Congress article.

Jeff Van Drew, who reportedly said he would switch parties, and Collin Peterson voted against both articles of impeachment. Jared Golden voted in favour of abuse of power, but against obstruction of Congress.

See how all members voted here

McConnell to speak Thursday morning

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Twitter that he plans to speak impeachment on Thursday at 9:30am local time (14:30 GMT).

Pelosi will not commit to sending articles to Senate

Minutes after the House impeached Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw the process into confusion by refusing to say when or whether she would send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial.

At a news conference held immediately after the vote, Pelosi said "we'll see what happens" when asked if she would send the articles to the Senate. She said that House Democrats could not name impeachment managers - House prosecutors who make the case in a Senate trial - until they know more about how the Senate will conduct a trial.

Pelosi made the comments after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a proposal earlier this week from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to call several witnesses. The Republican-led Senate is expected to acquit Trump.

Asked if she could guarantee she would send the articles, she said: "That would have been our intention", but that they will see what the Senate decides.

"We are not having that discussion, we have done what we set out to do," she said.

Read more about what's next here

Trump keeps veering back to impeachment at rally

Trump's campaign rally speech in Michigan on Wednesday night zigged and zagged through a variety of seemingly unrelated topics before he would veer back to address the topic at hand: The landmark vote in the House of Representatives to impeach him.

As the first votes were cast, Trump complained about "the crap" he has had to go through.

Just after the House passed two articles of impeachment against him, Trump said the vote showed the "'deep hatred and disdain" Democrats have for voters.

Later in the rally, Trump read off the vote and noted that three Democrats crossed over to join Republicans in voting against impeachment.

White House says it is confident US Senate will exonerate Trump 

The White House said it was confident the US Senate would exonerate Trump in a trial after the House voted to impeach him for abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

"Today marks the culmination in the House of one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our nation. Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the president through the House of Representatives," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

"The president is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings. He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated," she said. 

Joe Biden reacts

Former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, who was at the centre of the inquiry, tweeted on Wednesday that it was a "solemn moment". 

"President Trump abused his power, violated his oath of office, and betrayed our nation. This is a solemn moment for our country. But in the United States of America, no one is above the law - not even the President," Biden tweeted. 

Adjourned

The House is adjourned, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to speak at a news

conference.

Second article - obstruction of Congress

The House also voted to impeach Trump for Obstruction of Congress.

The 229 to 198 vote fell almost entirely along party lines. All of Trump's fellow Republicans opposed it, and all but three Democrats supported it.

Trump is impeached

Trump was impeached after the Democratic-led House passed the abuse of power article of impeachment on a largely party-line with a 230-197 vote. The House proceeded with a vote on the second article of impeachment charging Trump with obstruction of Congress.

Impeachment vote
Pelosi wielded the gavel as the House of Representatives voted on the first of two articles of impeachment against Trump [House TV/Reuters] 

First article - abuse of power

House began voting on the first of two articles of impeachment against Trump. The first vote, scheduled to last 15 minutes, was on abuse of power. Once that concluded, the House held a five-minute vote on obstruction of Congress. 

As voting continued, supporters of impeachment crossed the 216-vote threshold needed to secure a majority in the House.

Trump takes stage

As the House began voting on impeachment, Trump took the stage at a rally in Michigan. 

"By the way, it doesn't really feel like we're being impeached," Trump said as he opened a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. 

"Tonight the House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans," he told the raucous crowd.

Debate ends

The day-long debate ahead of the landmark vote to impeach Trump came to a close and voting began.

Michigan rally 

Vice President Mike Pence addressed a large campaign rally in Michigan, where Trump was expected to make an appearance. 

 "They're trying to run down this president because they can't run against our record," Pence said. "They know they can't stop you from giving President Donald Trump four more years in the White House."

But the crowd was growing restless as his appearance was delayed by more than 45 minutes. 

"We want Trump," the audience chanted.

The "Merry Christmas" rally held in the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, included two decorated Christmas trees set on the stage topped with Trump's signature red heads bearing the "Keep America Great" slogan.

Gaveled

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accused Republican legislator Louie Gohmert of spouting Russian propaganda, sparking a heated clash on the House floor.

Gohmert said the impeachment inquiry aimed to "stop the investigation of the US Department of Justice and Ukraine into the corruption of Ukraine interference into the US election in 2016."

Nadler, returning to the podium after Gohmert concluded his speech, came back to respond.

"I am deeply concerned that any member of the House would spout Russian propaganda on the floor of the House," Nadler said.

Gohmert responded by yelling and jabbing his finger at Nadler, but his reaction was drowned out by Representative Diana DeGette, who banged the gavel and called for order.

'Vendetta'

Highlighting the Republican accusations that the Democratic-led Trump impeachment proceedings are politically motivated, veteran Republican Steve Scalise said: "Let's talk about what this is really about. This is about a political vendetta."

"This isn't about some crime that he committed. It's about fear that the might get re-elected," Scalise said.

Number two House Democrat Steny Hoyer called on Republicans to show political courage and recognise the evidence against Trump.

"Damning evidence of the president's high crimes has emerged. Nevertheless, Republicans have continued to defend the president," Hoyer said.

"Party loyalty must have its limits. As evidence mounts daily, it's become increasingly clear that the limits of partisanship have been reached."

Contentious back-and-forth

As the vote neared, the bitterly divided Democratic and Republican legislators continued to trade accusations.

Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren worked as a Judiciary Committee staffer on the impeachment investigation of President Richard Nixon and as a member for the impeachment investigations of President Bill Clinton and Trump. She was one of many legislators who brought up the past.

"George Washington would be astonished since he warned against the insidious wiles of foreign influence,"  she said.

Session in pogress
Louie Gohmert returning to the podium to speak during the US House debate on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump [House TV via Reuters] 

Republican Representative Chris Stewart, one of Trump's most emphatic defenders during the impeachment investigation, said Democrats despise Trump and his supporters.

"This day is about one thing and one thing only. They hate this president. They hate those of us who voted for him. They think we are stupid."

He warned "gleeful" Democrats of a dangerous precedent. "If you set this bar as being impeachable, every president in our future will be impeached," Stewart said.

Trump rally

Thousands of Trump supporters braved the bitter Midwest cold queuing for hours, some overnight, to attend a large rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Moment of silence

Republican Congressman Bill Johnson, accusing Democrats of trying to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election by impeaching Trump, asked for a moment of silence to remember the "63 million Americans" who voted for Trump and have been forgotten.

All the Republicans in the House chamber stood up, Democrats stayed glued to their seats.

Partisan differences on full display

As the hours-long debate surged on, Republicans stoutly defended Trump on the House floor and Democrats pushed back.

"The matter before the House today is based solely on a fundamental hatred of our president. It's a sham, a witch-hunt - and it's tantamount to a coup against the duly elected president of the United States," Republican Representative Mike Rogers said.

Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, shot back: "Many of my colleagues appear to have made their choice - to protect the president, to enable him to be above the law, to empower this president to cheat again, as long as it is in the service of their party and their power."

Charged rally

Trump headed to a rally in the battleground swing state of Michigan for what was expected to be a highly charged event.

The White House said the president would be busy on Wednesday, working, rather than focused on the proceedings in the House - in a move critics slammed as an attempt to brush off the significance of the day's events.

Trump on lawn
US President Donald Trump walking on the South Lawn as he leaves to a campaign rally in Michigan [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters] 

The president has said the impeachment would bolster Republicans and Trump's campaign has experienced a surge in contributions and volunteers during the proceedings.

Allies nonetheless acknowledge that Trump has been angry over the stain the episode will leave on his legacy.

'Trump treated less fairly than Jesus'

A Republican legislator from Georgia said Jesus was "afforded more rights" ahead of his crucifixion than Trump before the impeachment vote.

"When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers," Congressman Barry Loudermilk said from the House floor.

"During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president in this process," the legislator added.

Loudermilk
Representative Barry Loudermilk speaking ahead of a vote on two articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [House TV via Reuters] 

Loudermilk, a conservative, represents a solidly Republican district in the Atlanta area. A Baptist, he wrote the book, And Then They Prayed, featuring stories of American figures famous in history at prayer.

Meanwhile, Republican Representative Mike Kelly compared the impeachment with the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor in 1941, calling the House proceedings another "date that will live in infamy", similar to the words Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt used to describe the raid that led to the US's entry into the second world war.

Trump himself has compared the drive to impeach him with the Salem Witch trials. During the infamous 17th century trials, 20 people suspected of witchcraft were killed in Massachusetts.

Deep divide

Underscoring the deep divide in Congress over Trump's conduct during his presidency, Republicans defended the president in a series of speeches on the House floor and accused Democrats of seeking to topple him from power using an unfair and rigged process to nullify the results of the 2016 election in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"To Democrats, it's politics, not facts, that matter," Republican Doug Collins said.

"Today is going to be a lot of things. What it is not, is fair," Collins said.

Ayanna Pressley
Democratic representative Ayanna Pressley speaking ahead of a vote on the two articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [House TV via Reuters] 

Meanwhile, Democrat Ayanna Pressley, who has been targeted by Trump in the past, said that Wednesday's vote was "not only patriotic, it is uniquely American". 

"America is a story of ordinary people confronting abuses of power with a steadfast pursuit of justice," she added. "Throughout our history, the oppressed have been relegated to the margins by the powerful and each time, we have fought back, deliberate in our approach, clear-eyed."

#ResignTrump

The #ResignTrump hashtag was trending on Twitter on Wednesday, as the debate neared its halfway mark. 

Amid the scandal of Watergate, Richard Nixon is the only US president to have resigned from office in 1974 after a House panel approved articles of impeachment against him but before the House voted on the issue - avoiding impeachment. 

Pompeo: 'I'm happy to testify'

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would be happy to testify for a Senate impeachment trial if he is summoned.

"I'm happy to do document productions, I'm happy to testify if that's appropriate, required by the law," Pompeo said at a news conference.

"State Department has done the same thing all the way through, we will continue to do so," he said.

Early in the impeachment inquiry, Pompeo objected to efforts to obtain depositions from current and former State Department officials and accused Democrats of bullying and intimidation.

He has also refused to heed subpoenas for documents.

Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, US [Joshua Roberts/Reuters] 

Duelling strategies

The rhetoric heard during the hearings of the impeachment inquiry was again on display during Wednesday's debate.

Many Democrats pointed to the actions of Trump that led to the impeachment inquiry and his refusal to participate in the investigation. They also urged their colleagues to uphold their oath to the constitution.

"In 2019, President Trump sought foreign interference when he needed a favour from Ukraine," said Democrat Steve Cohen.

"President Trump attacked in his continuing threat to our system of free and fair elections. I took an oath. I urge my colleagues to abide by that oath and stand up to President Trump's abuse of power and obstruction of Congress," Cohen added.

Republicans, meanwhile, focused on attacking the impeachment inquiry process itself, saying Trump was blocked from having due process.

"This impeachment is based purely on partisan motives," Republican Ross Spano on the House floor.

McConnell to announce Senate trial date by end of week: CNN

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to announce a trial date by the end of the week, CNN reported, citing unnamed sources.

Many expect the trial to begin as soon as January 6. McConnell has said he hopes to meet soon with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to hammer out the details for a trial.

'We are the champions'

Queen's "We Are the Champions" hit song was heard before a Michigan rally when Vice President Mike Pence told supporters that the impeachment vote was a "disgrace."

Pence was speaking to more than 200 people at a "Workers for Trump" event. He said Trump will again win the important swing state in the 2020 election, in part because of impeachment.

Pence is in Michigan for a daylong bus tour before joining Trump at a rally on Wednesday evening. 

Pro-impeachment rallies

Dozens of activists braved the cold on Wednesday to rally in support of Trump's impeachment on the US capitol in Washington, DC. Multiple "Nobody Is Above the Law" events have been held across the country. 

Impeachment protest
Activists rally in support of the impeachment of US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [ Tom Brenner/Reuters] 

Trump fires off tweet

As the heated debate got underway, Trump fired off a tweet in all caps denouncing his rivals, "THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY" he tweeted. 

Pelosi: Trump gave Democrats no choice but to pursue impeachment 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump gave "no choice" but to pursue impeachment. 

Pelosi made the comments as she opened the six-hour debate on the articles of impeachment against Trump.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is followed by members of the news media inside Statuary Hall prior to voting in the US House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [Tom Brenner/Reuters] 

"It is a matter of fact that the President is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy," Pelosi said. 

She added that Trump "launched an unprecedented, indiscriminate and categorical campaign of defiance and obstruction". 

US House begins debate on charges against Trump

The US House of Representatives opened six hours of debate on Wednesday on the impeachment resolution against Trump.

A vote on the two articles of impeachment is expected later in the day. 

Procedural vote: indicative

Democrats overwhelmingly approved the rules for the debate, 228-197, with just two defections from Pelosi's ranks, representatives Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew voting no - an early indication of how the votes will eventually fall on the articles of impeachment.

No Republicans supported the procedural vote, but Democrats picked up backing from Representative Justin Amash, the Michigan conservative, who left the Republican party this year to become an independent over his support for impeachment.

Mood: 'Not good'

The mood on the House floor was tense on Wednesday morning as members solemnly gathered for what would be a long and intense debate on impeachment.

The press galleries and public seats were full as observers peered down on the August House floor.

"It does not feel good," said Joe Kennedy III, a Democrat, announcing his intention to vote to impeach Trump.

"This is a sad day," said Debbie Lesko, a Republican. "Democrats are tearing this country apart. They are tearing families apart."

Open Session
Representative Diana Degette, the member presiding over the US House of Representatives, pounds the gavel to open the session to discuss rules ahead of a vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [House TV via Reuters] 

Rules for impeachment vote

The highly divided House of Representatives debated the rules that would govern the general impeachment debate.

The president, who is expected to depart later for a rally in the election battleground state of Michigan fired off a series of Tweets in the morning. 

House Republicans introduce motions aimed at disrupting debate 

House Republicans kicked off Wednesday's session with attempts to derail the impeachment debate. 

The first motion to adjourn failed in the Democratic-led House. 

Schiff: Will House members honour uphold their oath to the Constitution? 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat who led the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, posted a question to his colleagues ahead of Wednesday's vote. 

"President Trump abused his power to cheat in the next election, then obstructed Congress to cover it up," Schiff tweeted. "The only question is: Will members honor their oath to uphold the Constitution? History will remember the vote we take today. #DefendOurDemocracy" 

US House opens session ahead of landmark vote

The House of Representatives began debate on Wednesday ahead of a historic vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump.

The first hour of debate comes ahead of a procedural vote on the rule governing the main debate on impeachment. 

The vote on charges against the Republican president, expected to come later on Wednesday, is expected to fall along party lines in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

#MerryImpeachmas trends on Twitter as House prepares vote 

Impeachment supporters used #MerryImpeachmas on Wednesday morning to demand that Trump be impeached. 

"#MerryImpeachmas everyone! The actions taken today will live on in the history books for a long time. May we learn from our mistakes and never allow the most powerful position in the free world to be taken by a pseudo Dictator," tweeted one Twitter user. 

 

"I have been praying for your impeachment for over a year now. Prayers answered. #MerryImpeachmas," tweeted another. 

Trump: Can you believe that I will be impeached today

Trump on Wednesday again denied any wrongdoing, tweeting: "I DID NOTHING WRONG" 

"Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!" Trump said on Twitter. 

 

House impeachment votes: What to watch for

  • Spoiler alert - Trump is headed for a near-certain impeachment
  • Any defections? - Expect most Democrats to vote for impeachment and all Republicans to vote against it. One freshman Democrat, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, indicated he would oppose impeachment, then switch parties to become a Republican. Earlier this year, Justin Amash left the Republican party when he favoured impeachment. He is expected to vote yes to impeach. And one new Democratic congressman, Jared Golden of Maine, said he would vote to impeach on abuse of power but not obstruction.
  • Will Wednesday's debate change American minds? - That is still unclear. According to the latest polling, the Democrats' more than two months of investigation, including hours of public hearings did little to sway Republican voters to support impeachment. 
  • What about Trump? - The US president will likely continue tweeting throughout Wednesday's vote. On Tuesday, he sent a scathing letter to House Democratic leaders, accusing them of "bring pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political gain". 
  • Next stop: Senate - We may see more jabs traded in the Senate as leaders try to agree on next steps with a Senate trial.

Refresher: What is impeachment?

The founders of the US included impeachment in the US Constitution as an option for removal of presidents by Congress. Delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787 in Philadelphia agreed that presidents could be removed if found guilty by Congress of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours".

The sole authority under the Constitution to bring articles of impeachment is vested in the House of Representatives where proceedings can begin in the Judiciary Committee. If the House approves articles of impeachment, or "impeaches" a president, he or she would then be subject to trial in the US Senate. 

Read more on the US impeachment process here

 

House prepares for historic votes 

Wednesday's proceedings kicked off at 9am (14:00 GMT) with debate on the rule governing the longer impeachment debate. After the rule was approved, there were six hours of debate, divided equally among Democrats and Republicans. The final votes were expected in the afternoon or early evening. 

Read more here

Tuesday, December 17:

Thousands rally across US in favour of impeachment 

A coalition of liberal groups organised rallies across the US in favour of impeachment. 

Rallies were held from Washington, DC, to New York City and St Paul, Minnesota to Phoenix, Arizona, with protesters demanding Trump be impeached over his dealings with Ukraine. 

Trump impeachment
Anti-Trump protesters rally in New York City to call for his impeachment [Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo] 

"No one is above the law," read one sign in Salt Lake City, Utah. "We already went over this, America does not want a king," read another in Chicago, Illinois. 

Read more here

House panel sets rules for debate 

The House Rules Committee approved the rules for Wednesday's debate on the two articles of impeachment against Trump. 

The panel approved six hours of floor debate on the resolution, which will be divided equally among Democrats and Republicans and led by the House Judiciary Committee leaders. 

There will also one hour of debate prior to a procedural vote to approve the rule governing debate. 

Trump sends blistering letter to Pelosi

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, Trump accused Democrats of pursuing an "illegal, partisan attempted coup" and declaring war on American democracy.

The rambling, six-page letter on White House letterhead largely restated the president's objections to the impeachment inquiry but did so in accusatory and sometimes spiteful language that attacked Pelosi, congressional Democrats, Trump 's political rival Joe Biden and institutions such as the FBI.

"This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth," Trump's letter stated.

"By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy," Trump wrote.

"You view democracy as your enemy!" he added.

Read the full letter here

Duelling speeches in Senate over impeachment next steps

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday brushed aside a Democratic request to call four current and former White House officials as witnesses in a Senate impeachment trial expected next month, sending another clear signal that he expects senators not to remove Trump from office.

Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell said he would not allow a "fishing expedition" after a "slapdash" House impeachment process.

In his speech from the Senate floor, however, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a trial without witnesses would be a "sham" and suggested Trump's fellow Republicans favoured a cover-up.

Sparring over rules

At the Capitol, Democrats and Republicans sparred over the rules of debate on Tuesday with legislators arguing over the parameters for the debate.

"It's unfortunate that we have to be here today, but the actions of the president of the United States make that necessary," said Chairman Jim McGovern. "The evidence is as clear as it is overwhelming.β€³

House session
House Rules Committee hearing in session on the impeachment against US President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US [Anna Moneymaker/Pool via Reuters] 

He said the president "jeopardised our national security. and he undermined our democracy" and added that "every day we let President Trump act like the law doesn't apply to him, we move a little closer" to rule by dictators.

Republicans disagreed, firmly.

The top committee Republican, Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said the split view among Americans over impeachment should be reason enough not to proceed with the rare action. "When half of Americans are telling you what you are doing is wrong, you should listen," he said.

Senate trial: Democrats want four witnesses

Top Democrat in the Senate Chuck Schumer said he wants the trial to consider documents and hear testimony from four witnesses: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney aide Robert Blair and budget official Michael Duffey. Schumer has argued that such testimony could sway Republicans in favour of removing Trump.

Chuck Schumer
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer holding his weekly news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, US [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters] 

Trump has refused to cooperate with the House impeachment process and ordered current and former officials like those mentioned by Schumer not to testify or provide documents.

McConnell took aim at Schumer and Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that spearheaded the impeachment inquiry launched in September.

Giuliani: Trump 'relied on' on his claims

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, said in an interview with the New York Times published on Tuesday that he provided the president with information that the US ambassador to Ukraine was impeding investigations that could benefit Trump politically. Within weeks, she was recalled from her post.

In the interview, Giuliani portrayed himself as directly involved in the effort to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and he provided details indicating Trump's knowledge of that effort.

Giuliani said he passed along information to Trump "a couple of times" about how Yovanovitch had frustrated efforts that could help Trump, including efforts to have Ukraine investigate political rival, Joe Biden.

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