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World News

GOP Group Trolls ‘Comrade Trump’ With Mock Endorsement Ad From Vladimir Putin

A group of President Donald Trump’s critics on the right has made an endorsement video for him ― just not one he would want. 

The Lincoln Project’s latest is a mock endorsement from Russia, done entirely in Russian, that makes it clear “Comrade Trump” once again has the blessing of Vladimir Putin. 

“Russia thanks you for your loyalty and friendship,” the voiceover says, according to the English subtitles:

The video went live amid reports that Trump and his administration knew of intelligence that found a Russian military unit was paying bounties to Afghan militants for killing U.S. troops.

“As the mother of a Marine, I lived with the fear of receiving a knock on the door and hearing the news no mom ever wants to hear: my son could have been taken from me,” Lincoln Project cofounder Jennifer Horn said in a news release earlier this week.

“It enrages me to think of the parents who lost their child because of Trump’s complete dereliction of duty,” she added. “He is a stain on their memories.”

The Lincoln Project’s other founders include conservative attorney George Conway ― husband of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway ― as well as longtime GOP insiders, such as Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt. 

The organization also released a video of former Navy SEAL Dan Barkhuff ripping into Trump. 

“I’m a pro-life, gun-owning combat veteran,” Barkhuff said. “And I can see Trump for what he is: a coward. We need to send this draft dodger back to his golf courses. The lives of our troops depend on it.”




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Markets

India’s Oil Demand from Cars to Factories Limps Toward Normalcy

The world’s fastest-growing oil market is showing an uneven recovery two months after easing demand-destroying virus-control measures.

Provisional fuel sales in June had climbed within 88% of 2019 levels from less than half in April in the midst of the world’s biggest lockdown, the oil ministry said citing sales of the three major state-owned retailers. But diesel and petrol, typically the two most-sold fuels and proxies for the nation’s economic health, lagged that mark, while sales of cooking gas surged.

The June data “comes in the backdrop of Indian economy gradually getting momentum with the ease of lockdown restrictions and revival of economic activities that are slowly getting back on track,” the oil ministry said in a statement. The figures represent sales by three state-owned oil refiners and retailers Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp., which together control about 90% of the country’s petroleum fuels market.

Total fuel sales were propped up by a surge in liquid petroleum gases, which are used for cooking and have seen increased consumption as people spend more time at home.

Sales of diesel, the country’s most-consumed fuel, were at 5.5 million tons in June, up 20% from May but still down 17% from a year ago, according to officials with direct knowledge of the companies’ activities, who asked not to be identified because the data wasn’t public.

Petrol also rebounded from May but was well below 2019 levels, while aviation fuel sales are still 67% below last year’s figures as international flights remain restricted, even as domestic travel has resumed.

Crude throughput at refineries owned by the three state-owned firms are currently at about 85%, up from as low as 55% in early-April, according to the government statement dated July 1.

Product June 2020 M/m Y/y
Petrol 2.0 million +36%* -15%
Diesel 5.5 million +20%* -17%*
Jet Fuel 201,000 +110%* -67%*
LPG 2.07 million -9%* +17%
Total (petroleum) 11.8 million -12%

SOURCE: Government data; all figures in tons

NOTE: * represents data from refinery officials with knowledge of the companies’ fuel sales

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said last week that he expects fuel demand in the third-biggest oil consumer to return to normal by the end of September. His projection was more bullish than those by the International Energy Agency and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which don’t see India’s fuel demand at normal levels until the end of this year.

India’s rebound has remained far behind that of its neighbor China, where demand bounced back swiftly after the nation made early progress in containing the spread of coronavirus and pledged an injection of liquidity into markets.

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Business

This energy startup has made a solar breakthrough

New York (CNN Business)Solar and wind power are booming. Electric vehicles are so promising that Tesla is now worth more than ExxonMobil. Coal is collapsing.

And yet energy watchdogs are warning that not nearly enough is being done to fight the climate crisis.
The International Energy Agency sounded the alarm Thursday about the “critical need” to rapidly accelerate clean energy innovation. That’s because the climate goals set by governments and corporations around the world depend on technologies that have not yet reached the market.

    China is storing an epic amount of oil at sea. Here's why
    “The message is very clear: in the absence of much faster clean energy innovation, achieving net-zero goals in 2050 will be all but impossible,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.
    Major parts of the world economy don’t have clean energy options as yet. Power companies are dumping coal in favor of increasingly affordable solar and wind power. And all the major auto makers are racing to develop the best electric vehicles to compete with Tesla.

    Yet there are few technologies available to bring emissions down to zero in areas such as shipping, trucking and aviation, the IEA said. The same problem exists in heavy industries like steel, cement and chemicals.
    “Decarbonizing these sectors will largely require the development of new technologies that are not currently in commercial use,” the report said.
    And that is no slam dunk. It took decades to scale up solar panels and batteries to make them economical. And plenty of technologies failed along the way.
    “Time is in even shorter supply now,” the IEA report said.

    ‘Disconnect’ between goals and efforts

    That’s not to say progress isn’t being made.
    Late last year, Heliogen, a clean energy startup backed by Bill Gates, discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to generate extreme amounts of heat from the sun. The goal is to use that carbon-free sunlight to replace fossil fuels in certain heavy pollution industrial processes, such as making cement, glass and steel.
    Still, the IEA said there are “no single or simple solutions to putting the world on a sustainable path to net-zero emissions.”
    This company wants to turn your windows into solar panels
    About three-quarters of the cumulative reductions in carbon emissions to get on that path will need to come from technologies that have “not yet reached full maturity,” the report said.
    For instance, while battery technology has evolved significantly, the IEA said “rapid progress” is required to transition battery prototypes to the world’s long-distance transportation needs.
    Yet there isn’t enough money being deployed by corporations or the public sector toward researching next-generation energy solutions.
    “There is a disconnect between the climate goals that governments and companies have set for themselves and the efforts underway to develop better and cheaper technologies to realize those goals,” the IEA’s Birol said.

    Pandemic deals blow to energy spending

    That disconnect, like so many others now, is being amplified by the pandemic.
    Although social distancing and health restrictions are causing carbon emissions to tumble, investment in energy is also falling sharply. Spending in the energy industry is expected to plunge by a record $400 billion, or 20%, this year, the IEA previously estimated.
    That slowdown in spending undermines efforts to develop clean energy solutions.

      At the same time, questions about the future of the economy, especially the energy and transportation sectors, will make it harder for startups to attract capital. Governments grappling with dual health and economic crises may be tempted to divert money away from developing clean energy at exactly the wrong time.
      “Failure to accelerate progress now,” the IEA report said, “risks pushing the transition to net-zero emissions further into the future.”
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      Economy

      Associated British Foods Q3 Group Revenue Down 39% At Constant Currency

      Associated British Foods plc. (ASBFY.PK,ABF.L) reported that its group revenue from continuing businesses for the third-quarter dropped 39 percent to 2.61 billion pounds at constant currency.

      Group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks ended 20 June 2020 was 13% lower than the same period last year at constant currency and 14% lower at actual exchange rates.

      In grocery, third quarter revenues were 9% ahead of last year, with increased retail volumes, and margin and operating profit were strongly ahead. Grocery benefited in the third quarter from increased sales volumes through the retail channel which more than offset weaker foodservice demand.

      AB Sugar adjusted operating profit was well ahead of last year in the third quarter, driven by British Sugar and our Spanish sugar business which both benefited from higher EU sugar prices compared to last year’s levels. However, revenue was held back by lower Illovo export volumes. Full year operating profit will be materially ahead of last year.

      In Ingredients, revenue in the third quarter was 3% ahead of last year, driven by both AB Mauri and ABF Ingredients.

      AB Agri revenues were in line with last year in the third quarter with higher sales of feed enzymes offsetting lower poultry feed volumes affected by lower foodservice demand for chicken.

      In retail, quarterly revenues were 582 million pounds, down 75% from the prior year at constant currency.

      As a result of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in itsmarkets, all of its 375 Primark stores closed in a 12-day period to 22 March. This resulted in a loss of sales of some 650 million pounds per month, the company said.

      For the full year, the company continues to expect strong progress in the aggregate adjusted operating profit of Sugar, Grocery, Agriculture and Ingredients businesses. This will be mainly driven by a material increase in profit at AB Sugar and another year of good margin and profit growth in Grocery.

      The company estimates that, absent a significant number of further store closures, adjusted operating profit for Primark, excluding exceptional charges, will be in the range 300 million pounds – 350 million pounds for the full year compared to 913 million pounds reported for the last financial year.

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      Business

      ‘It is difficult for us to get rid of China overnight’

      ‘China feels India will be hard-pressed not to go after China because we are so badly dependent on them — and that is the reality.’

      Amidst the tension on the Ladakh front with China, another looming concern is the enormous trade deficit India has vis a vis China which makes it impossible for the country to break out of the Chinese economic stranglehold.

      Going on the offensive over the issue, the Congress party sharply attacked the Narendra Damodardas Modi government for allowing the trade deficit with China to balloon to $53 billion — from $36 billion when the Manmohan Singh government left office in 2014.

      So how did India reach this level of trade deficit with its neighbour? How and why did Chinese goods so capture Indian markets?

      Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com spoke to Biswajit Dhar, economics professor at the Centre for Economics Study and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, to understand what bedevils India-China trade.

      “India as a country cannot run without electronics and pharma products from China. If we do not get these products, who will provide us? Professor Dhar asks in the first of a two-part interview.

      Whenever border tensions rise, voices across India get louder about banning Chinese imports. But can we do without them?

      I don’t think it is possible in the short run. The amount of inter-climbing between the two economies — and especially given our dependence on China — it is not possible for us to decouple from china in the short run.

      It can happen in the medium term if the Indian government takes serious steps to rejuvenate domestic production so some amounts of imports can be replaced by domestic production.

      Can India raise duty on Chinese goods?
      If it does so, will it lead to a violation of WTO terms which says that every member must offer every other member the same import duty rate and not discriminate?

      There are ways of doing it. The WTO would never say no to countries trying to develop their industrial or manufacturing sector.

      What the WTO would object to is if you give direct subsidy or raise tariffs beyond the permissible limit.

      As long as government does this, finds ways of supporting the industry without violating the WTO, it should be fine.

      Every country gives certain amount of support to its industries. There are red lines of what kind of support you can give so you should be careful that you do not transgress those red lines and violate WTO rules.

      India’s trade deficit with China has ballooned in the last six years. Why did it happen and what are the companies that benefit from this?

      It is not six years, it has happened in the last 15 years.

      If you see, imports from China in 2003-2004 were $4 billion. In the last financial year it was $65 billion.

      Now, two things happened. At that time China had just joined the WTO and was given the Most Favoured Nation status and treated at par with other members.

      At the same time India started liberalising more and tariffs started coming down rapidly in 2003.

      After the 1991 liberalisation, the sharpest decrease in tariffs happened in 2002 and 2003.

      The third thing that happened was that India’s manufacturing sector was very weak then. There were government reports that talked about improving the share of manufacturing in GDP. But all those reports were ignored by successive governments.

      As a result, China got advantage of the open Indian economy.

      Without any competition from India’s manufacturing sector who could not compete with China, that resulted in the ballooning of the trade deficit.

      But what was the compulsion to reduce the tariffs on Chinese goods? Was it because of the WTO?

      No. Even I have not been able to understand what was the necessity of unilaterally bring down the tariffs when your industries cannot compete.

      Why are you exposing our industries to unfair competition?

      And once China comes in then they indulge in all kind of unfair competition. They dumped their products.

      This answer has not been given by the successive Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Modi governments.

      The Vajpayee government got into this agreement with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) to do a Free Trade Agreement which was concluded by the Manmohan Singh government. And then there were FTAs with Japan and South Korea.

      The Modi government decided to join the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) which we vehemently opposed as China was a part of that grouping and they have already done so much damage to us and this decision would be like a kulhadi (axe) on your leg.

      Fortunately, Prime Minister Modi went to sign the RCEP in Bangkok in November 2019, but pulled out at the last moment.

      If the government had signed the RCEP, the situation would have been more terrible.

      What was the reason for Modi not to sign the RCEP?

      A lot of us wrote against it and a large number of domestic industries spoke up against it. They said there will be unfair competition from China and we will cease to exist.

      Who benefits from these Chinese imports? Is there a lobby?

      There must be some lobby, but I don’t know. It is a matter for journalists to investigate. There are obvious pitfalls, we as researchers can point out by looking at the broad numbers.

      Who are the people who pushed us into this situation from where there is no escape?

      Two big areas where our dependence is huge on China are electronic goods — that includes telecom — and pharmaceuticals products.

      We cannot do without China in these two sectors.

      India as a country cannot run without electronics and pharma products from China.

      If we do not get these products, who will provide us?

      Eighty percent of the 17 rare earth minerals used in computers to lighting to renewable energy is controlled by China, so how can you as a country do without them?

      I am not saying you can cut off from China completely. I believe Indian entrepreneurs have the capability of producing smartphones and computers, so why can’t we produce it?

      If you have large industries here, these industries need raw materials and when Chinese companies are selling 17 rare earth minerals, they will come here to sell their products.

      Today what is happening is that they have the raw materials, they are processing it and they are giving their people jobs.

      Here we are only importing and there is widespread unemployment in India because there are no jobs.

      Did Make in India fail because of China?

      That never took off. If it had taken off, we would have not been in this mess.

      It did not take off not because of China, but because of us.

      Every country where production happens, the government creates the right kind of infrastructure, ecosystem and does handholding for entrepreneurs to come and invest. It creates the environment for them.

      Look at the infrastructure, red tape etc here.

      Your cost of capital is higher. Take the MSME sector, they get loans at very high rates. Your cost of capital is higher.

      So where is the incentive for entrepreneurs to come up and start manufacturing in India?

      Look at China, the government is giving incentives to their industries, they are giving subsidies directly or indirectly. Therefore, we cannot compete with them unless the Indian government plays an active role.

      Does China not fear losing its business from India when border tensions rise?

      China feels that it is in a win-win situation because the Indian economy is so terribly dependent on them.

      It is difficult for us to get rid of China overnight.

      Suppose China stops exporting pharmaceutical products to us, then our pharmaceutical industry will suffer badly. The same is the case with electronic products and telecom sector.

      China is doing all this as they are confident of the fact that India is on the back foot economically. They think they can extract some additional concessions from India.

      They feel that India will be hard-pressed not to go after China because we are so badly dependent on them — and that is the reality.

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      Industries

      Cresco Labs Closes Sale-and-leaseback Deal For Massachusetts Marijuana Facility

      Cresco Labs Inc., a multi-state cannabis operator, said it has closed an agreement to sell and lease back its marijuana facility in Fall River, Massachusetts to Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. or IIP.

      This is Cresco’s fifth sale-and-leaseback agreement with IIP, a real estate company focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry.

      Cresco Labs noted that the sale was for about $29 million and includes $21 million in funding for tenant improvements.

      The Fall River property represents about 118,000 square feet of industrial space and includes cultivation space, a processing facility, and dispensary that serves both adult use and medical marijuana patients in Fall River.

      In June, Cresco entered into amendments to its leases with IIP for its Michigan and Ohio properties. According to the company, the lease amendments made available an additional $17 million in funding for further improvements of the cannabis cultivation and processing facilities at the properties.

      Cresco Labs said in April that it completed the sale-and-leaseback transaction for its Marshall, Michigan property to IIP. The sale of the property was for $16 million and marked Cresco’s fifth completed sale-and-leaseback transaction, its fourth with IIP.

      “IIP has proven to be a reliable partner, and we are thrilled to work with them for a fifth lease. This transaction, along with our expanded real estate partnership with IIP is allowing us to continue building out Cresco’s presence in three exciting markets: Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder Charlie Bachtell.

      Along with the closing of the sale of the Fall River property, Cresco Labs said it will enter into a long-term, triple-net lease agreement with IIP and continue to operate the property as a licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing facility upon completion of redevelopment.

      As of July 1, 2020, IIP owned 58 properties located in several U.S. states and totaling about 4.4 million rentable square feet, which were 99.2 percent leased.

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      Markets

      Job growth expected to continue in June

      US private sector added 2.37M jobs in June

      FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone breaks down the June ADP report, which comes in below expectations at 2.37 million.

      The biggest economic report of the month is expected to show the job market continues to climb back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic.

      Continue Reading Below

      The June employment report will be released Thursday morning, a day early because U.S. markets will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

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      Another 3 million people are expected to be added to payrolls, an increase from May’s gain of 2.509 million, which was the highest on record. That report was a surprise as expectations were for a loss of 8 million jobs.

      The unemployment rate likely fell a full percentage point to 12.3 percent.

      In a precursor to the government's report, private employers added 2.37 million jobs in June, according to the ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday.

      US PRIVATE SECTOR ADDED 2.37M JOBS IN JUNE

      The rise was attributed to states allowing businesses shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak to reopen and start rehiring.

      The number was slightly below the 3 million forecast by Refinitiv economists. Hiring was concentrated in the leisure and hospitality industry, the sector hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic lockdown.

      The Labor Department will also report weekly jobless claims.The estimate is for 1.355 million people to have filed for unemployment benefits, which would be the 13th straight week of declines.

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      Since the coronavirus lockdowns were initiated back in mid-March 47.25 million people have filed jobless claims.Thursday's report could bring that total to just over 48.61 million, or around 30 percent of the U.S. workforce.

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      Business

      Guess who’s benefited from India-China conflict? Hong Kong

      In the last five years, imports from HK have more than tripled — from $5.6 billion in FY15 to $17.1 billion in FY20. In the same period, exports declined by 20 per cent ­– from $13.6 billion in FY15 to $10.8 billion (annualised) in FY20. 

      Hong Kong has emerged a beneficiary of the India-China conflict, with Indian importers increasingly sourcing their requirements from the Special Administrative Region (SAR), which has a separate jurisdiction under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

      India’s trade deficit with China is on a downward trajectory, and hit a 5-year low in FY20 due to lower imports and higher exports, but trade deficit with Hong Kong continues to rise. 

      In FY20, the same increased to a record high of $6.3 billion (annualised basis), from $5 billion a year ago. This was driven by a sharp rise in imports and a steady decline in exports to the SAR. 

      The FY20 data is based on the commerce ministry’s trade statistics for the April 2019-February 2020 period. 

      In the last five years, imports from HK have more than tripled — from $5.6 billion in FY15 to $17.1 billion in FY20. In the same period, exports declined by 20 per cent ­– from $13.6 billion in FY15 to $10.8 billion (annualised) in FY20. 

      India had a trade surplus with Hong Kong till two years ago. Exports to Hong Kong in FY18 exceeded imports by $4 billion, which turned into a trade deficit of $5 billion the following next year. 

      In contrast, trade deficit with China declined to a 5-year low of $47 billion in FY19, from a record high of $63 billion in FY18. In FY20, imports from China were down 3.6 per cent to $68 billion (annualised) from $70.3 billion a year ago, while our exports were up 1.2 per cent year-on-year to around $17 billion. 

      Analysts, however, say that mainland China and Hong Kong should be seen together as the latter is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and an economic gateway to the mainland. A significant portion of China international trade passes through Hong Kong port. 

      Higher imports from China has blunted reduction in India’s trade deficit with China. India combined trade deficit with China and Hong Kong is expected to $57.4 billion in FY20 marginally down record high of $59 billion in FY18 and $58.5 billion in FY18. 

      There are also a lot of similarities between India trade with China and that with Hong Kong. For example, electronics and electrical equipment are India’s biggest import from both mainland China and Hong Kong followed by power generation equipment such as boilers and reactors. 

      In the first 11 months of FY20, India imported $18 billion worth of electronics and electrical equipment from China, accounting for nearly a quarter of imports. In case of Hong Kong the figure was around $8.2 billion, accounting for half of all imports from the city-state.

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      Economy

      U.S. Manufacturing Activity Unexpectedly Expands In June

      After reporting contractions in U.S. manufacturing activity for three straights months, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Wednesday showing activity unexpectedly expanded in the month of June.

      The ISM said its purchasing managers index jumped to 52.6 in June from 43.1 in May, with a reading above 50 indicating an expansion in manufacturing activity.

      Economists had expected the index to climb to 49.5, which have still indicated a modest contraction in manufacturing activity.

      “As predicted, the growth cycle has returned after three straight months of COVID-19 disruptions,” said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

      He added, “Demand, consumption and inputs are reaching parity and are positioned for a demand-driven expansion cycle as we enter the second half of the year.”

      The headline index recorded its largest increase since August 1980, as the new orders index spiked to 56.4 in June from 31.8 in May and the production index soared to 57.3 from 33.2.

      The report said the employment index also surged up to 42.1 in June from 32.1 in May, indicating a slower pace of job losses in the manufacturing sector.

      On the inflation front, the prices index jumped to 51.3 in June from 40.8 in May, pointing to an increase in raw materials prices after four consecutive months of declines.

      A note from economists at Oxford Economics said manufacturing activity likely bottomed in the second quarter but noted the sector will face major challenges that will drag on its recovery.

      “Looking ahead, weak demand, lingering supply chain disruptions, somewhat tighter financial conditions, historically low oil prices and highly elevated uncertainty are poised to make for a lackluster recovery,” the economists said.

      They added, “Further, with the number of coronavirus cases now rising in many parts of the country, including several states where manufacturing activity is concentrated, the nascent recovery risks being curtailed by the re-imposition of lockdowns.”

      The ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on U.S. service sector activity in the month of June next Monday.

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      World News

      Twitter Users Explode After Trump Again Claims Coronavirus Will ‘Just Disappear’

      President Donald Trump sparked outrage on Wednesday for repeating his claim that the coronavirus will “just disappear,” even as new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continued to surge to record daily highs and health experts issued dire warnings about the alarming new figures.

      As a number of states reversed course on their reopening plans amid spiking case counts, Trump told Fox Business in an interview that he still believed the virus would simply go away on its own.

      “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus,” he said. “I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

      According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. broke a new record on Wednesday with more than 50,000 new cases reported. A day earlier, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the U.S. could see as many as 100,000 daily infections if states where cases are soaring don’t act more aggressively to mitigate the spread.

      Eight states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas — announced single-day highs on Tuesday.

      Trump, who has been claiming since February that the virus will miraculously disappear, has faced intense criticism and plummeting approval ratings over his downplaying of the virus that has now killed more than 128,000 people in the U.S.

      Critics were appalled when he repeated the claim Wednesday.

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