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Trulieve Enters 5th State with Two Acquisitions in Pennsylvania, Creating a Vertically Integrated Operation

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Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CNW Group/Trulieve Cannabis Corp.)

Acquisitions further Trulieve’s mission of being the leading customer-focused cannabis brand in the United States

TALLAHASSEE, FL, Sept. 16, 2020 /CNW/ – Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (“Trulieve” or the “Company”) (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF), a leading and top-performing cannabis company in the United States, today announced that it has entered into definitive agreements pursuant to which Trulieve has agreed to acquire cultivator and producer PurePenn LLC and Pioneer Leasing & Consulting LLC (collectively “PurePenn”) as well as dispensary operator Keystone Relief Centers LLC, doing business as Solevo Wellness (“Solevo”).

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CNW Group/Trulieve Cannabis Corp.)

Key Transaction Benefits:

  • Delivers an accretive transaction on an EBITDA basis.
  • Broadens Trulieve’s multi-state footprint to Pennsylvania, the fifth most populated and limited-license state, adding to Trulieve’s existing operations in Florida, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut
  • Expands Trulieve’s cultivation footprint with the addition of one of Pennsylvania’s leading cultivators and producers with 35,000 square feet of existing cultivation, with planned expansion to 90,000 square feet by Q1 2021
  • Adds three fully operational dispensaries in premier Pittsburgh-area locations to Trulieve’s rapidly growing retail footprint of 60 dispensaries nationally
  • Provides Trulieve with the ability to enter the Pennsylvania market with existing vertical operations
  • Further strengthens Trulieve’s experienced leadership with engaged and aligned local management teams

Kim Rivers, Trulieve CEO stated, “We are extremely excited to announce the acquisition of PurePenn and Solevo as these companies are proven and profitable operators with strong management teams, state of the art facilities, a premium product portfolio, and strong patient base.”

Rivers continued, “We believe Pennsylvania is one of the most attractive cannabis markets in the United States and these acquisitions align with our focus on expanding within the northeast. The combination of these companies, coupled with Trulieve’s supply chain expertise, customer and brand-centric approach, and ability to profitably grow will propel us into a strong leadership position in the state.”

PurePenn

PurePenn is a premier cultivation and production company, producing pharmaceutical-grade medical marijuana products. It offers a range of products such as concentrates, flower, oil, capsules and tinctures, and its portfolio includes some of the highest THC potencies in the Pennsylvania program, with 750mg THC per 30mL bottle tincture and the original THCA sand with potencies in excess of 96%. PurePenn currently operates a 35,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in McKeesport, PA, which is undergoing expansion to 90,000 square feet expected to be operational by Q1 2021. The PurePenn facility also provides room for future expansion as Trulieve grows its operations in Pennsylvania.

Under its current 100% wholesale model, PurePenn’s sizeable cultivation footprint supplies an extensive distribution network, including Solevo and other private and public medical marijuana companies.

The acquisition allows Trulieve to expand its cultivation presence into the Pennsylvania market.  As of the end of the second quarter of 2020, the state of Pennsylvania reported that out of the 33 companies permitted to cultivate in the state, only 26 grower/processors were deemed operational, and of those, only 15 of those were actively shipping to dispensaries.

“We are excited to join Trulieve, as well as Solevo, who we have an established relationship with, and see this as an incredible opportunity to combine Trulieve’s seed to sale structure with our wholesale model,” said Gabe Perlow, CEO of PurePenn.  “We look forward to continuing to add to our cultivation to meet the wholesale demand in the state, as well as being part of a vertical integration model – the best of both worlds.  The announcement today provides new opportunities for PurePenn and we believe this will accelerate our already rapid growth.” 

Solevo Wellness

Solevo owns and operates three dispensaries, located in premier Pittsburgh-area locations, including the first dispensary to open in Allegheny County in February 2018. Solevo is dedicated to providing medical marijuana relief solutions for Pennsylvanians certified with serious medical conditions such as intractable pain including arthritis, and other serious medical conditions including glaucoma, cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, MS, IBS, and HIV/AIDS.

The acquisition expands Trulieve’s retail presence into the fifth-most populated state in the U.S., with approximately 13 million people and an expanding medical marijuana patient base of 330,000 patients as of June 30, 2020. The medical market size in Pennsylvania is estimated to be US$420 million in 2019 and is anticipated to grow to US$575M by the end of 2020, according to BDS Analytics. As of the end of the second quarter of 2020, only 87 of the potential 198 dispensary locations were operational and servicing the 330,000 patients in the state.

“We are extremely excited to join Trulieve to bring their strong brand presence to the Pennsylvania market.  We share the same patient-centric core values and strive to develop best-in-class service by providing quality products and delivering the highest standard of professional care,” said Dr. Robert Capretto, Chairman of the Board of Solevo. “We are looking forward to bringing the Trulieve brand to the market, which we anticipate will be well-received by our patients and communities.”

Proposed Transactions

Trulieve has agreed to acquire PurePenn for an upfront payment of $46 million, comprised of $27 million in Trulieve subordinate voting shares (“Trulieve Shares”) and $19 million in cash, plus a potential earn-out payment of up to approximately $60 million in Trulieve Shares based on the achievement of certain agreed EBITDA milestones.

Trulieve has agreed to acquire Solevo for an upfront purchase price of US$20 million, comprised of $10 million in cash and $10 million in Trulieve Shares, plus a potential earn-out payment of up to approximately $15 million in Trulieve Shares based on the achievement of certain agreed EBITDA milestones.

Both acquisitions are agreed as of September 16, 2020. The Transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and are expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2020. Each acquisition is an arms length transaction and neither involve a finder’s fee. The acquisitions will result in a change of control for both PurePenn and Solevo.

The Trulieve Shares issued in conjunction with the transactions are subject to various hold periods of up to 18 months following the closing date of each respective transaction.

Advisors and Counsel

For both the PurePenn and Solevo transactions: Canaccord Genuity Corp. is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to Trulieve, and Akerman LLP is acting as legal counsel to Trulieve.  Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLC is acting as legal counsel to PurePenn and PLC and Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC is acting as legal counsel to Solevo.

About PurePenn

PurePenn is a premier grower and processor of medical marijuana licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health composed of Pennsylvania business leaders and healthcare experts deeply committed to patient quality of life, job creation, and social impact on the communities it serves.  PurePenn’s products have received repeated acclaim for consistently providing safe and effective treatments for patients. Rooted in community and social good, our goal is to consistently produce medical marijuana products at its facility in McKeesport that exceeds the state’s, community’s, employees’ and patients’ expectations.  Learn more at: www.purepenn.com/

About Solevo

Solevo operates three medical marijuana dispensaries in Pittsburgh, PA, and is dedicated to providing medical marijuana relief solutions for Pennsylvanians certified with serious medical conditions such as intractable pain including arthritis, and other serious medical conditions including glaucoma, cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, MS, IBS, and HIV/AIDS. Founded by leading physicians, pharmacists, and medical professionals, Solevo offers personal, professional care, and quality medical marijuana products.  Learn more at: www.solevowellness.com/

About Trulieve

Trulieve is a vertically integrated “seed-to-sale” company and is the first and largest fully licensed medical cannabis company in the State of Florida. Trulieve cultivates and produces all of its products in-house and distributes those products to Trulieve-branded stores (dispensaries) throughout the State of Florida, as well as directly to patients via home delivery. Trulieve also operates in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Trulieve is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol TRUL and trades on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol TCNNF.  Learn more at: www.trulieve.com/

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes forward-looking information and statements, which may include, but ‎are not limited to, information and statements regarding or inferring the future business, ‎operations, financial performance, prospects, and other plans, intentions, expectations, estimates, ‎and beliefs of the Company and statements with regard to the completion of the acquisitions, the issuance of Subordinate Voting Shares, the expansion of the Company’s operations, the achievement by PurePenn and Solevo of certain performance milestones and the issuance of Subordinate Voting Shares in satisfaction of such milestone payments. Words such as “expects”, ‎‎”continue”, “will”, “anticipates” and “intends” or similar expressions are intended to identify ‎forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s ‎current projections and expectations about future events and financial trends that management ‎believes might affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial ‎needs, and on certain assumptions and analysis made by the Company in light of the experience ‎and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments and ‎other factors management believes are appropriate. Forward-looking information and statements ‎involve and are subject to assumptions and known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other ‎factors which may cause actual events, results, performance, or achievements of the Company ‎to be materially different from future events, results, performance, and achievements expressed ‎or implied by forward-looking information and statements herein. Although the Company ‎believes that any forward-looking information and statements herein are reasonable, in light of ‎the use of assumptions and the significant risks and uncertainties inherent in such information ‎and statements, there can be no assurance that any such forward-looking information and ‎statements will prove to be accurate, and accordingly readers are advised to rely on their own ‎evaluation of such risks and uncertainties and should not place undue reliance upon such ‎forward-looking information and statements. Any forward-looking information and statements ‎herein are made as of the date hereof, and except as required by applicable laws, the Company ‎assumes no obligation and disclaims any intention to update or revise any forward-looking ‎information and statements herein or to update the reasons that actual events or results could or ‎do differ from those projected in any forward looking information and statements herein, whether ‎as a result of new information, future events or results, or otherwise, except as required by ‎applicable laws.‎

The Canadian Securities Exchange has not reviewed, approved, or disapproved the ‎content of this news release.‎

View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/trulieve-enters-5th-state-with-two-acquisitions-in-pennsylvania-creating-a-vertically-integrated-operation-301132660.html

SOURCE Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2020/16/c4681.html

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QAnon followers champion Trump as a savior for trafficked children, but federal prosecutions have dropped by a third over the past 2 years

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QAnon followers champion Trump as a savior for trafficked children, but federal prosecutions have dropped by a third over the past 2 years
A father and son in QAnon shirts listen before President Donald J. Trump arrives to speak at a “Keep America Great Rally” at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday, Aug 01, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • According to believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, President Donald Trump is the country’s savior from liberal elites who are kidnapping children and running a secret child sex trafficking ring.

  • But data shows that federal sex trafficking prosecutions have actually decreased since Trump took office.

  • According to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2019 federal report which was released in May 2020, 73 new federal criminal cases involving the sex trafficking of children only were prosecuted last year, compared to compared to 87 in 2018, and 124 in 2017, Trump’s first year in office.

  • Experts say QAnon believers are latching on to misinformation to boost their cause but ignore evidence-based solutions to the issue.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

QAnon followers have long praised President Donald Trump as a champion for sexually trafficked children.

But data shows that Justice Department prosecutions of such crimes have decreased during his administration.

According to a 2019 report from the Human Trafficking Institute released in May of this year, the cases have fallen by a third since their height in 2017. There were 73 new federal criminal cases involving child-only sex trafficking launched last year, compared to 87 in 2018, 124 in 2017, and 115 in 2016.  

The perception of Trump as tough on child-sex crimes originated from the far-right conspiracy movement QAnon. QAnon originated on the internet message board 4chan and has been labeled a potential domestic terror threat by the FBI. It promotes a series of conspiracies around the idea that Democrats are secretly working to take down Trump and other conservatives

Many believers claim that Trump is the country’s savior from the unfounded conspiracy that liberal elites are kidnapping children and running a secret child sex trafficking ring.

The conspiracy is untrue on a surface level, and the Human Trafficking Institute’s analysis of the data shows there have actually been fewer child sex-trafficking prosecutions from the federal government since Trump took office.

According to Jamie Gates, a professor at Point Loma Nazarene University who researches sex trafficking, the scale of child sex-trafficking cases is larger than most people think, but is “being exaggerated by QAnon conspiracy theories.”

“I’m really concerned with the exaggerated data that I see. I see [false stories about] tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of kids being kidnapped and taken to Mexico or taken to another country,” Gates told Insider. “I don’t think groups like QAnon are interested in actual data. They’re interested in the rhetorical use of data.”

The lower case count doesn’t necessarily mean child sex trafficking is happening any less

Erin Albright, a law enforcement consultant who works with human trafficking task forces, told Insider it’s unlikely that the rate of sex trafficking has actually changed, even though the number of federal prosecutions has decreased.

She said more cases could be prosecuted at the state level, current cases could be more complex and require more time, and that US attorneys’ offices may be prioritizing other types of cases.

Albright added that the federal government dialing back on protections for vulnerable populations — including undocumented immigrants and the LGBTQ community — could mean that support for trafficking survivors is harder to come by, and fewer victims are coming forward.

Demonstrators in Keene, New Hampshire, gather at a "Save the Children Rally." Anti-pedophilia protests are flaring in the US where the QAnon movement started. <p class="copyright">JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images</p>
Demonstrators in Keene, New Hampshire, gather at a “Save the Children Rally.” Anti-pedophilia protests are flaring in the US where the QAnon movement started.

Ultimately, data on sex trafficking is hard to establish, since every organization tracks the issue differently. Child sex trafficking organizations often recirculate out of date statistics to declare the problem is large and growing, according to HuffPost reporter Michael Hobbes, who wrote in an article detailing the difficulty in finding hard numbers on the issue.

“Even as anti-trafficking groups have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in donations and carried out near-constant awareness campaigns, they still have not produced any credible research on the scale or nature of the problem they’re focused on addressing,” Hobbes argued.

According to Gates, the misinformation about trafficking being peddled by conspiracy theorists exaggerates the scale of the issue, obscuring the realities behind it.

“Sex trafficking is real, it’s hidden, and it’s at a larger scale than what most people tend to think about,” Gates told Insider. “But it’s not at the scale that’s being exaggerated by the QAnon conspiracies.”

QAnon uses misinformation to its advantage

According to Gates, many QAnon followers share incorrect statistics to garner concern from passionate people, so they can spread the theory wider.

“The worst part to me is the blurring of the lines between truth and fiction, truth and some other nefarious agenda,” he told Insider.

In addition to the baseless claim that Satan-worshipping liberal elites kidnap children and run a pedophile ring, the QAnon movement is also associated with absurd claims that vaccines are used to control people, that Kim Jung-un is a puppet controlled by the CIA, and that John F. Kennedy Jr. is secretly still alive and will emerge from hiding to become Trump’s running mate.

A Donald Trump supporter holding a QAnon flag visits Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 01, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota. <p class="copyright">Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images</p>
A Donald Trump supporter holding a QAnon flag visits Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 01, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota.

Trump has praised QAnon during press briefings and retweeted posts from the group’s followers on Twitter. In one briefing in August, he told a reporter that he knew very little about QAnon, but was grateful for support from its members.

The reporter told Trump that QAnon followers have a “belief that you are secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.”

“Well, I haven’t heard of that,” Trump said. “But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”

A person wears a t-shirt with the abbreviation of QAnon's slogan, "where we go one, we go all, while participating in a "save the children" march and rally in New York City on August 12, 2020. <p class="copyright">REUTERS/Stephanie Keith</p>
A person wears a t-shirt with the abbreviation of QAnon’s slogan, “where we go one, we go all, while participating in a “save the children” march and rally in New York City on August 12, 2020.

Gates told Insider that QAnon’s move to the mainstream is dangerous.

He pointed to its support of “Save the Children” marches, which he said have helped further spread misinformation by attaching it to an already-established organization that works to help trafficked kids

Albright said that people who are interested in helping prevent sex trafficking should look to assist vulnerable communities like runaways and homeless youth in their area.

She said people should be lobbying for better support that could improve the child welfare system and fund low-barrier, gender-affirming housing.

“By and large, even when you identify people [who are at risk of being trafficked], they still need tremendous support where there’s not a lot of resources, and those systemic factors that enabled it to happen in the first place haven’t really been resolved,” she said.

Read the original article on Insider

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Economic Data, Brexit, and the U.S Presidential Debate to Keep the Markets Busy

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Yahoo Finance

Earlier in the Day:

It’s was a particularly busy start to the day on the economic calendar this morning. All the majors were in action through the Asian session, with economic data from China also in focus.

While the stats provided direction, the 1st U.S presidential debate was in full swing early this morning, limiting the impact of the stats.

For the Kiwi Dollar

Building consents and business confidence figures were in focus.

In August, building consents rose by 0.3%, partially reversing a 4.6% slide from July.

The Kiwi Dollar moved from $0.65820 to $0.65853 upon release of the figures that preceded business confidence figures.

Of greater significance, however, was business confidence in September.

The ANZ Business Confidence Index rose from -41.8 to -28.5, which was down from a prelim -26.0. In August, the index had stood at -31.8.

According to the latest ANZ Report,

  • Activity indicators were up a little on the prelim numbers, while the headline figure was lower.

  • Investment and employment intentions and profit intentions were also up.

  • Agriculture and construction were the most optimistic sectors. Services and retail were the least optimistic.

The Kiwi Dollar moved from $0.66010 to $0.66056 upon release of the figures. At the time of writing, the Kiwi Dollar was up by 0.27% to $0.6606.

For the Japanese Yen

Industrial production and retail sales figures were in focus.

In August, industrial production rose by 1.7%, following an 8.7% jump in July. Economists had forecast a 1.5% rise.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry,

Industries that mainly contributed to the increase were:

  • Motor vehicles, iron, steel, and non-ferrous metals, and electronic parts and devices.

Industries that mainly contributed to the decrease were:

  • Production machinery, electrical machinery, and information and communication electronics equipment, and pulp, paper, and paper products.

Forecasts for September were revised upwards from a 1.9% increase in production to a 5.7% increase. Industrial production is projected to rise by 2.9% in October.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, retail sales fell by 1.9%, following a 2.9% decline in July. Economists had forecast a 3.5% decline.

The Japanese Yen moved from ¥105.672 to ¥105.693 upon release of the figures. At the time of writing, the Japanese Yen was down by 0.03% ¥105.69 against the U.S Dollar.

Out of China

It was a particularly busy morning. Key stats included September’s NBS private sector PMIs and the market’s favored Caixin Manufacturing PMI.

In September, the NBS Manufacturing PMI rose from 51.0 to 51.5. Economists had forecast a rise to 51.2. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI increased from 55.2 to 55.9, leading to a rise in the composite from 54.5 to 55.1.

The Aussie Dollar moved from $0.71341 to $0.71334 upon release of the NBS figures that preceded the Caixin number.

In September, the Caixin Manufacturing PMI slipped from 53.1 to 53.0. Economists had forecast a PMI of 53.1.

According to the September survey,

  • Firms reported further marked increases in production and new orders.

  • New business expanded at the strongest pace since January 2011, supported by solid export sales.

  • Employment stabilized, ending eight consecutive months of job shedding.

  • Operating margins remained under pressure, however. Firms reported a marked increase in input costs, while output costs rose marginally.

  • Optimism improved to a 3-month high.

The Aussie Dollar moved from $0.71369 to $0.71381 upon release of the PMI.

For the Aussie Dollar

Building approvals and private sector credit figures were in focus.

With geopolitics and private sector PMI numbers out of China, however, the stats had a muted impact on the Aussie Dollar.

Building approvals fell by 1.6%, while private sector credit stalled in August.

The Aussie Dollar moved from $0.71449 to $0.71369 upon release of the figures that preceded China’s Caixin survey numbers. At the time of writing, the Aussie Dollar was up by 0.08% to $0.7136.

The Day Ahead:

For the EUR

It’s a busier day ahead on the economic calendar. Key stats include French and German retail sales figures and German unemployment numbers. Prelim inflation figures for France, Italy, and the Eurozone are also due out.

Expect the retail sales and unemployment figures to have the greatest impact. There will be some interest in the Eurozone inflation figures, however. Any further buildup of deflationary pressure would test support for the EUR.

Away from the economic calendar, there’s also Brexit, COVID-19, and the 1st U.S presidential debate to consider.

At the time of writing, the EUR was up by 0.03% to $1.1748.

For the Pound

It’s a busy day ahead on the economic calendar. Key stats include finalized GDP and business investment figures for the 2nd quarter.

Expect any revisions to influence though the key driver on the day will be Brexit as talks continue.

At the time of writing, the Pound was up by 0.03% to $1.2867.

Across the Pond

It’s a relatively busy day ahead for the U.S Dollar. Key stats include finalized 2nd quarter GDP numbers, Chicago’s September PMI, and ADP nonfarm employment change figures for September.

Barring any deviation from previous estimates, expect the ADP numbers to have a greater impact.

While the stats will influence, the U.S presidential debate will be the key driver in the early part of the day.

The Dollar Spot Index was down by 0.06% to 93.832 at the time of writing.

For the Loonie

It’s a quiet day ahead, with no material stats to provide the Loonie with direction.

A lack of stats will leave the Loonie in the hands of economic data from China and the U.S and the 1st debate…

The weekly EIA inventory numbers will also provide direction later in the day.

At the time of writing, the Loonie was down by 0.01% to C$1.3390 against the U.S Dollar.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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Congressional panel subpoenas top Homeland official in whistleblower probe

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Congressional panel subpoenas top Homeland official in whistleblower probe

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A congressional intelligence committee has issued a subpoena to compel a senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official to testify about accusations that it had meddled in intelligence reports for political purposes.

The accusation stems from a whistleblower complaint made by former Homeland Security Department intelligence chief Brian Murphy, who has alleged that top DHS officials and a White House official sought to skew intelligence reports.

Adam Schiff, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said he had subpoenaed acting DHS intelligence chief Joseph Maher to testify publicly on Friday. Schiff has said the department was seeking to stall the committee’s investigation into Murphy’s allegations.

Schiff said he also had issued a subpoena to force DHS to turn over “documents, communications, and other records” related to the committee’s probe of Murphy’s allegations.

“Adam Schiff’s claims about DHS stonewalling his committee or obstructing the clearance process are completely false. DHS is doing no such thing and Chairman Schiff, despite the obvious political theater of this subpoena, knows this,” a department spokesman said in a statement.

“In fact, the department has produced nearly 3,000 pages of documents and has provided two briefings and three transcribed interviews to date,” the spokesman said.

Murphy has claimed he was pressured to stop providing assessments of the threat of Russian interference in the Nov. 3 U.S. election and to play down white supremacist activity.

He has also said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told him in May to instead report on political interference threats posed by China and Iran and highlight the involvement of left-wing groups in domestic disorder.

The DHS has flatly denied Murphy’s accusations.

Schiff originally announced that he planned to take a closed-door deposition from Murphy last week so Murphy could talk about classified material he dealt with while at DHS.

But Murphy’s lawyers say DHS has moved slowly to grant them security clearances they would need to participate in such proceedings, and have also denied him pre-deposition access to all but unclassified materials he worked on.

Mark Zaid, a lawyer for Murphy, said it was still possible Murphy could be deposed by the committee on Friday if security clearances for his lawyers are approved by then.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington, D.C.; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis)

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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