Michael Wolff attacked CNN’s Brain Stelter on air, calling him ‘full of sanctimony’

Michael Wolff speaking to CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday July 18, 2021.
Michael Wolff called CNN’s Brian Stelter “one of the reasons people hate the media.”

  • Michael Wolff flipped out at CNN’s Brain Stelter on air, calling him ‘full of sanctimony.’
  • The pair were discussing Wolff’s latest book on Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • Wolff told Stelter: “You are one of the reasons people can’t stand the media.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Donald Trump’s biographer Michael Wolff criticized CNN host Brian Stelter on his own show, calling him “full of sanctimony” and saying that he was “one of the reasons people can’t stand the media” in a combative interview on Sunday.

Wolff was appearing on Stelter’s show “Reliable Sources” to discuss his latest book on Donald Trump’s presidency, “Landslide.”

Stelter suggested Wolff had previously sought to secure access to Trump by criticizing Stelter and CNN during an appearance on “Reliable Sources” in 2017.

Wolff admitted that Trump – a frequent critic of CNN – had called him the day after the interview to congratulate him for bashing the network.

But he denied that the criticism had been deliberately intended to curry favor with Trump.

“I don’t want you to think that what I said at that point was in any way inauthentic. I think the media has done a terrible job on this,” Wolff told Stelter.

“I think you yourself, while you’re a nice guy, you’re full of sanctimony. You become one of the parts of the problem of the media.

“You come on here and you have a monopoly on truth, you know exactly how things are supposed to be done.

He added: “You are one of the reasons people can’t stand the media. Sorry, it’s your fault.”

Asked by Stelter what he should do differently, Wolff replied: “Don’t talk so much. Listen more.”

The pair also clashed earlier in the interview over a claim in Wolff’s book that Rupert Murdoch personally permitted Fox News to call Arizona for President Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election.

Wolff wrote that Rupert Murdoch received a call from his son Lachlan, the CEO of Fox Corporation, saying that Fox News’ Decision Desk was ready to call the state for Biden.

He said that Rupert Murdoch had “every reason” to delay calling the state given the network’s allegiance to Trump.

But Wolff wrote that Murdoch, “with [a] signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F— him.””

He told Stelter that he was well-sourced at Fox News because he has written a book about the network and the Murdochs in the past.

“I am Rupert Murdoch’s biographer,” he said.

“One of many,” Stelter said.

“No, not one of many. That’s totally ridiculous,” Wolff replied, adding that he had been given “enormous access” to Murdoch for the book.

Fox News denied Wolff’s reporting in a statement to Insider. Some of his claims in previous books about Trump have been disputed by multiple journalists.

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Sen. Ron Johnson mouths to GOP group that climate change is ‘bullsh–‘ just weeks before deadly heat wave

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican.
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican.

  • Ron Johnson mouthed to a GOP luncheon that climate change is “bullsh–,” CNN reported.
  • His comments came weeks before a fatal heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that scientists attributed to climate change.
  • Johnson has a long record of rejecting facts or making comments at odds with science on climate change.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin called climate change “bullsh–” during a GOP luncheon in early June, just weeks before a heat wave claimed dozens of lives in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists have linked the historic high temperatures to climate change.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I think climate change is – as Lord Monckton said – bullsh–,” Johnson said during the Republican Women of Greater Wisconsin Luncheon at Alioto’s in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in comments caught on video and first reported by CNN. “By the way, it is.”

Johnson – who referred to Lord Christopher Monckton, a climate skeptic who has held positions in the British government and press – did not actually say “bullsh–” out loud, but mouthed the word.

The Wisconsin senator defended himself in comments to CNN, rejecting the notion that he’s a climate change denier.

“My statements are consistent. I am not a climate change denier, but I also am not a climate change alarmist. Climate is not static. It has always changed and always will change,” Johnson said.

The world’s top scientists say that climate change is real and caused by human activities. In short, Johnson’s comments are not backed up by science.

Johnson further defended himself on Twitter, writing, “I do not share Rep. Ocasio-Cortez view that the ‘world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.’ Or POTUS saying the ‘greatest threat’ to U.S. security is climate change. I consider those to be extreme positions – to say the least.”

The Wisconsin Republican was referencing remarks made by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York in January 2019. Ocasio-Cortez has said she did not mean the world would literally end in 12 years, and was referencing a United Nations report that said humans only had a dozen years to change their behavior and avoid a climate change catastrophe.

Johnson also dismissed President Joe Biden’s comments on the national security threat posed by climate change, which have been backed up by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

“Climate change is going to impact natural resources, for example,” Milley said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in June. “It’s going to impact increased instability in various parts of the world. It’s going to impact migrations, and so on.”

Johnson has a long record of making statements at odds with science and denying that climate change is a product of human activities. In 2010, for example, Johnson falsely said Greenland only recently froze and erroneously suggested it was named for its previously green landscapes.

Watch a video of Johnson’s remarks on climate change at the GOP luncheon last month, which occur around the 52-minute mark:

WI Senior US Senator Ron Johnson Speech June 5, 2021 from on Vimeo.

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Jimmy Carter shared in a recent interview that he watches PBS, CNN, and MSNBC, but steers clear of Fox and social media

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter are seen ahead of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals, in Atlanta. Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. It marks the first time the couple, 96 and 93, will have missed the ceremonies since Carter was sworn-in as the 39th president in 1977.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter don’t watch much Fox News.

  • Former President Jimmy Carter watches PBS “NewsHour” nightly and regularly catches up on CNN and MSNBC.
  • He and his wife, Rosalynn, largely steer clear of Fox News and social media.
  • “We have a very good balance of news coverage,” Carter said in an interview that aired Monday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter are devoted fans of the PBS “NewsHour,” the former president said in an interview that aired Monday evening.

They watch the show every night, Carter told “NewsHour” host Judy Woodruff as he described the couple’s news consumption. “We watch MSNBC and CNN pretty regularly,” he added.

They “don’t watch Fox presentations very much,” Carter said, nor do they “really become involved” in social media. “So we have a fairly good balance of the news coverage.”

Carter, 96, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, spoke to Woodruff from their home in Plains, Georgia, for a wide-ranging interview as they prepare to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 7. Carter is now the longest-living president in US history.

In addition to their news habits, the couple discussed unfounded claims made by President Donald Trump and his supporters that he won the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s known, quite accurately, as the big lie,” Carter said. “And how he – how Trump – gets away with it is hard to comprehend.”

It’s “hard for me to know what was happening and then to hear what was being said about it,” Rosalynn Carter said.

Asked whether she ever thought that the Carter Center would be involved in monitoring elections in her home state, she said, “No, I never thought we’d have to monitor elections in Georgia. I just assumed elections were accurate. I trusted our officials.”

Read more: Jimmy, Rosalynn Carter look back at 75 years of marriage: ‘It’s a full partnership’

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CNN host Brianna Keilar goes off on Tucker Carlson: ‘You are white rage’

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar reads off a teleprompter over a chyron reading "Fox hosts disparage military, call a top US officer a 'pig'
CNN anchor Brianna Keilar

  • CNN anchor Brianna Keilar took issue with Fox News star Tucker Carlson’s “white rage” segment.
  • She also addressed Laura Ingraham’s suggestion to defund the military.
  • “He pretends white rage doesn’t exist,” Keilar said. “He is white rage. Don’t sell yourself short, pal.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Intra-cable news tensions boiled over on CNN Friday morning when “New Day” anchor Brianna Keilar put Fox News host Tucker Carlson on blast over his “white rage” segment Thursday night.

At point during his show, Carlson asked: “How do we save this country before we become Rwanda?”

The Fox News star’s overall argument was that US Army Gen. Mark Milley’s desire to understand the psychological and historical concept of “white rage” – developed by Emory University historian Carol Anderson as an explanation for backlash to Black people gaining social power and influence – equates to promoting pre-Civil War era eugenics, but against white Americans instead of their fellow citizens who are Black.

“That isn’t just a dog whistle. It’s a white whistle,” Keilar said after playing a clip. “He pretends white rage doesn’t exist. He is white rage. Don’t sell yourself short, pal.”

Carlson also criticized Milley in personal terms, calling him “a pig” and someone who “knows who to suck up to” after his viral congressional testimony on the military’s diversity training and how it educates service members on the nation’s history of racism.

“Hard to believe that man wears a uniform,” Carlson said. “He’s that unimpressive.”

Keilar was not having any of it.

“Unimpressive, he calls him. What does he mean?” the CNN anchor said of Carlson, Fox News’s most-viewed host. “You know, setting aside any disagreements he has with Milley – Milley’s not immune from criticism – but look at the stripes on his sleeve. Ten of them, we counted.”

“Each one of those overseas service bars is six months deployed,” Keilar continued. “That is five years. That is more time than Tucker Carlson spent at his probably third-choice boarding school.”

Keilar wasn’t done skewering Carlson, though she did also address Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s suggestion that Congress should defund the military if Milley is going to defend how they teach about racism. She described Carlson and Ingraham as following a pattern of antagonizing military leaders.

“Tucker Carlson didn’t serve,” Keilar said. “His biggest achievement is having nine lives in the world of cable news, making a bow tie famous, and getting away with promoting conspiracy theories night after night after night.”

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Jeffrey Toobin returns to CNN and apologizes for his ‘moronic’ behavior 7 months after Zoom masturbation incident

Jeffrey Toobin.

  • Jeffrey Toobin returned to CNN after 7 months of leave following a Zoom masturbation incident.
  • The CNN chief legal analyst exposed himself to his former New Yorker colleagues in October 2020.
  • Toobin, who was fired by the New Yorker, said he’s “trying to be a better person.”
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Embattled writer and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to the network on Thursday nearly seven months after being caught masturbating on a Zoom call with his former New Yorker colleagues.

Toobin appeared on television for the first time since the incident for an interview with CNN Newsroom co-host Alisyn Camerota

“To quote Jay Leno, what the hell were you thinking?” Camerota asked.

“Well obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much. It was something that was inexplicable to me. I think one point, I wouldn’t exactly say in my defense, because nothing is really in my defense, but I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me,” Toobin said.

“You thought that you had turned off your camera?” Camerota said.

“Correct, I thought I had turned off the Zoom call. Now, that’s not a defense. This was deeply moronic and indefensible, but that is part of the story,” Toobin went on to say.

VICE News reported on October 19, 2020 that the veteran writer was seen masturbating and exposing himself to his colleagues from the New Yorker and some WNYC staff members during a Zoom simulation of the 2020 election. The exercise also had fellow New Yorker star reporters including Jane Mayer, Evan Osnos, Sue Halpern, Masha Gessen, Jelani Cobb, and Dexter Filkins in attendance.

At a point during the simulation where participants broke off into strategy sessions, Toobin, who was playing the role of the court system, was on a separate and very not-safe-for-work Zoom call with another woman where he was seen exposing and touching his penis.

Toobin said his colleagues were “shocked and appalled” by the matter and that he’s apologized in public and private to his former coworkers, his current CNN colleagues, and his wife and family.

The New Yorker first suspended, then fired Toobin altogether after 27 years at the magazine on November 11. He’s remained on leave at CNN since October.

Toobin said he’s spent the subsequent “miserable” months “trying to be a better person” through therapy, community service, including working at a food bank, and working on a new book about the Oklahoma City bombing.

“I am trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again,” he said.

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Fox News and CNN choose not to air Trump’s first official speech in 3 months

Trump speech, North Carolina
Former President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina. The event is one of former U.S. President Donald Trumps first high-profile public appearances since leaving the White House in January.

  • Trump’s speech at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday night was the first pubic address in months.
  • Both Fox News and CNN chose not to broadcast the address, Newsweek reported.
  • One America News and Newsmax both aired the speech live and in full.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fox News and CNN did not broadcast former President Donald Trump’s first public speech in three months, Newsweek reported.

Trump’s address at the North Carolina GOP State Convention on Saturday night was the first time the former president had made a public address since his Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speech in February.

Fox News, a station once loved but now much-maligned by the former president, broadcast a pre-taped episode of “Watters’ World” instead of Trump’s address.

CNN dedicated a segment to analyzing the importance of the address instead of actually airing Trump’s speech, Newsweek said.

Read more: Fox News isn’t even pretending to be a news network anymore. It’s time for consumers to force cable providers and advertisers to drop the network.

Fox News was once Trump’s favorite news channel, but he has repeatedly trashed it in recent years. He has called it “unwatchable” and has urged his followers to watch “anything else,” Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova reported.

One America News (OAN) and Newsmax are now battling it out for pro-Trump viewers, Insider reported. Both of the conservative networks decided to air the former president’s speech live, Newsweek said.

MSNBC showed some of the address, with a correspondent speaking over the remarks, Newsweek added.

Insider reached out to Fox News and CNN for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

During the address, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by three-term Sen. Richard Burr in 2022.

The endorsement came after Tar Heel native Lara Trump, the wife of presidential son Eric Trump, declined to run for the seat, Insider’s John L. Dorman reported.

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Accused Capitol rioter who yelled at police for ‘protecting pedophiles’ served jail time for statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl, report says

Sean McHugh with a megaphone
Sean McHugh, right, is pictured with a megaphone at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

  • During the Capitol riot, Sean McHugh used a megaphone to accuse police officers of “protecting pedophiles.”
  • McHugh served jailed time for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl in 2010, CNN reported.
  • He is charged with eight federal crimes relating to the deadly insurrection.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A man accused of storming the Capitol and yelling at police officers for “protecting pedophiles” previously served jail time for the statutory rape of a teenage girl, according to a review of court records by CNN.

Footage obtained by the Metropolitan Police Department reveals that Sean McHugh used a megaphone at the Capitol riot to heckle police officers. “You guys like protecting pedophiles?” he said, according to federal prosecutors.

Yet, ironically, McHugh was convicted in 2010 on a California state charge of unlawful sex with a minor, CNN reported.

He was sentenced to 240 days in jail and four years of probation for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl when he was 23, former prosecutor Todd Kuhnen told the media outlet. McHugh pleaded no contest to the charge, Kuhnen said.

Read more: A Trump-appointed prosecutor blindsided the Biden DOJ with a ’60 Minutes’ interview on the Capitol riot cases. Now a federal judge wants to talk about it.

The Californian has been in jail since his arrest on May 27.

He is charged with eight federal crimes relating to the Capitol riot, including physical violence on Capitol grounds and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Videos from January 6 show McHugh pushing a large sign into a line of uniformed police officers, spraying an unknown chemical at officers, and encouraging others to be disruptive, federal prosecutors said.

At the time of the deadly insurrection, he was on probation for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, the criminal complaint shows.

According to Insider’s searchable database, more than 500 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far.

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who compared mask rules to the Holocaust, once said AOC ‘should be shamed’ for comparing migrant detention centers to concentration camps

marjorie taylor greene alexandria ocasio cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene once said invoking Nazi history is “insulting.”
  • Greene made the comments in a since-deleted 2019 Facebook live reported by CNN’s KFile.
  • Greene attacked AOC at the time for comparing migrant detention facilities to concentration camps.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been denounced for her repeated comparisons of mask-wearing and coronavirus vaccination efforts to the horrors suffered by Jews during the Holocaust, once said invoking Nazi history is “insulting” and “incomprehensible.”

According to CNN’s KFile, the Georgia Republican made the comments in a since-deleted 2019 Facebook live post, before she was a member of Congress.

Greene directed her remarks at Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who at the time had come under fire for tweeting that migrant detention facilities at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration function like concentration camps. “We are calling these camps what they are because they fit squarely in an academic consensus and definition,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

Several GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s statements, while Democrats, such as Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, came to her defense.

Greene slammed Ocasio-Cortez at the time, saying the comparison is “just so disturbing,” per CNN.

“She should be shamed by everyone that she’s actually using those terms and making that comparison,” Greene said. “And I think it’s an embarrassment to our country that we actually have a congresswoman that would do such a thing. And I’m calling her out big time. I think everyone should call her out.”

“She should never, ever, make that comparison,” Greene continued. “It’s insulting, extremely insulting to the families who have family members that were murdered or survived concentration camps. And that just shows you a lot about who she is as a person. And then also anyone that agrees with her and the Democrat party.”

Greene’s newly-unveiled comments come as top House Republicans, including McCarthy, have condemned the congresswoman for her recent likening of mask-wearing and vaccine rules to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene tweeted on Tuesday. “Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.”

The “gold star” reference, which historians more commonly refer to as a yellow star, was an identifier that Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear.

Greene said last week that the House mask mandate enforced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “exactly the type of abuse” Nazis committed against Jews.

McCarthy, the House minority leader, said on Tuesday that Greene’s language was “wrong” and “appalling.” At least one GOP lawmaker, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, has called for Greene’s expulsion from the House Republican conference.

Greene has since doubled down on her stances and used the controversy to attack Democrats, saying they are “reminiscent of the great tyrants of history.”

Greene’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

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CNN’s president told staffers Chris Cuomo ‘made a mistake’ but ‘is human’ for coaching brother Gov. Andrew Cuomo through sexual-harassment allegations, reports say

chris cuomo andrew cuomo cnn
Chris Cuomo.

  • CNN host Chris Cuomo advised Gov. Andrew Cuomo on how to respond to sexual-harassment allegations.
  • CNN head Jeff Zucker told staff on Tuesday Chris Cuomo “made a mistake,” per Mediaite and WSJ.
  • But Zucker also said Cuomo would not be taken off air and “is human.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker told staffers that host Chris Cuomo “made a mistake” in coaching his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, through allegations of sexual harassment, multiple reports said.

Zucker told a town hall on Tuesday: “Let me say up front, Chris made a mistake,” according to Mediaite and The Wall Street Journal.

Zucker said, however, that Cuomo “is human and these are very unique circumstances,” The Journal reported.

Zucker said he didn’t see a reason to take Cuomo off the air, but that CNN heads had told Cuomo that he had crossed a line by advising his brother while his brother’s aides were there.

Jeff Zucker CNN
Jeff Zucker.

CNN said last week that it was “inappropriate” for Cuomo to “engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.”

Cuomo apologized on air to his colleagues last week.

Earlier this year several women accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. He has rejected the claims, which the New York attorney general’s office and state assembly are investigating.

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CNN ends contract with Rick Santorum after dismissive comments about Native Americans

Ric Santorum
Rick Santorum appearing on CNN Debate Night on September 29, 2020.

  • Rick Santorum lost his contract at CNN after dismissing the role of Native Americans in US history, per HuffPo.
  • “There isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” he said at an event last month.
  • The comments provoked a wave of outrage from Indigenous groups and organizations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CNN has terminated its contract with senior political commentator Rick Santorum following statements he made in April that dismissed the role of Native Americans in US history, according to The Huffington Post.

Santorum, a former two-term GOP senator from Pennsylvania and former presidential candidate, provoked a wave of outrage after saying that there was “nothing” in America before colonizers arrived.

“We birthed a nation from nothing,” he said at a Young America’s Foundation last month. “I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

He added: “It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of America. Faith and freedom. It is what makes America unique in the world.”

Indigenous-led groups including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and IllumiNative have spent weeks calling for Santorum’s ouster from CNN over his remarks.

On Saturday, a CNN senior executive told the Huffington Post that the network “quietly ended its contract with Santorum this week.”

The executive, who remained anonymous, said that the decision to boot Santorum came when he made an appearance on “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo and “blew it” with his explanation of the comments.

Read more: Being a Black Republican is exhausting. But Sen. Tim Scott and other big-name conservatives say they don’t need anyone’s pity or platitudes.

After this incident, the executive told the Huffington Post that “nobody” stood up to vouch him to remain at the network.

“Leadership wasn’t particularly satisfied with that appearance,” the executive added. “None of the anchors wanted to book him. So he was essentially benched anyway.”

During his appearance on Cuomo’s show, Santorum contended that he had “misspoke” and said his remarks were “taken out of context,” but did not apologize for the cultural erasure of Native Americans in his comments.

“I think after that appearance, it was pretty clear we couldn’t use him again,” the executive told the Huffington Post.

A CNN spokesman also confirmed with the Huffington Post that the network ended its relationship with the former senator this week.

For weeks, the NCAI sought to publicly pressure CNN to remove Santorum from network, threatening a boycott.

“Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” said NCAI president Fawn Sharp in a statement last month. “Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust. Any mainstream media organization should fire him or face a boycott from more than 500 tribal nations and our allies from across the country and worldwide.”

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