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Christopher Steel was offered by the FBI to expose Flynn’s significant money

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Christopher Steel was offered by the FBI to expose Flynn's significant money

Four years after writing the file that bears his name, Christopher Steele ‘s reputation as a retired British intelligence officer continues to burn.

It was only a few weeks ago that newly declassified footnotes revealed that one of the key sources in the report was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and that the FBI knew the case very likely contained Russian disinformation.

Well, that wasn’t a good look.

Another piece of information that is not a good look — though not exactly new — has received renewed attention after the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the charges against former Trump administration National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

As the Daily Caller News Foundation reminded everyone in a Wednesday article, last year’s Justice Department Inspector General’s report included an often-overviewed issue involving the FBI offering Steele “significantly” remunerated if Flynn and his dealings with Russia were to be investigated.

Our narrative, as it applies to Flynn and Steele, started on October 3, 2016. The FBI agents then consulted with Steele and discussed the trends in the Crossfire Hurricane case, their case into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

The Inspector General’s report reported that the FBI agent said the office would pay “significantly” for details that would go to one of the three “buckets” they were reviewing at the time.

Flynn was interested in one of those buckets — what a shock.

According to the IG report, the FBI requested “additional intelligence / reporting on specific, named individuals (such as [Carter Page] or [Flynn]) involved in facilitating Trump’s campaign-Russian relations.”

Would you think the FBI are trying to kill Trump?

The FBI also said they needed Steele to dig up details on “any person or subsource” who might “serve as cooperating witnesses to help locate those interested in the Trump campaign-Russian relationship.”

The FBI investigator told Flynn about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who reportedly believed that the Russians had Hillary Clinton ‘s emails and would later lie to the FBI.

Flynn wasn’t on Steele ‘s watch, the DCNF reported. However, he was the former lieutenant general in the United States. Obviously, the army should have been a focus — so much so that Steele would have peddled a story that he had been engaged in an affair with a Russian prostitute.

While the information about the FBI approaching Steele for dirt on Flynn was old news, the unfounded rumor that Flynn had an affair with a Russian woman is actually relatively new. The announcement came in 2017 from a John McCain partner who was made public for the first time earlier this month.

That McCain associate, David Kramer, would eventually share the Steele file with BuzzFeed News, according to the DCNF.

During his testimony, Kramer was asked by the then-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, if there was “anything [Steele] that had not been included in the file or in the papers, so he did not believe like it had grown to the point of trust like he should have had to include it.”

“There was one thing he told me that was not mentioned here, and that is that he claimed that Mr. Flynn had an extramarital liaison with a Russian woman in the U.K. Michael Flynn, that’s right, “Kramer said.

Considering what made it into the study, one wonders how bad this detail needed to be left out. But then, why do we have to be surprised? We’ve seen time and time again how the US authorities trusted the British spy more than the American general.

In either event, Kramer said that the supposed lover was a “Russian lady” who “may have been a dual citizen.”

A Jan. 4, 2017 FBI memo raised similar questions regarding Flynn, stating that the office became “somewhat wary” of his actions in an unspecified case in which he met with an person who was “associated with a variety of influential leaders” of an undisclosed group.

And all this adds up to … zero.

Despite hiring Christopher Steele to prosecute Michael Flynn and conduct some self-investigation, the best the FBI was able to get on with President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser was that, when they asked him a question to convince him to lie, he simply didn’t tell them the facts.

This was entrap-tastic and did not come close to confirming any of the Boris-and-Natasha hypotheses that the Crossfire Hurricane squad had been cooking up.

As for Steele’s dossier, this is more proof that it’s nothing more than another document out of the swamp.

The more we learn about the actions of Christopher Steele, James Comey, Peter Strzok, John Brennan and those around them — and, surprisingly, four years on, the hits are coming — the more it looks like a concerted effort to delegitimize Trump’s candidacy and (when that failed) his presidency.

The media enjoys laughing at the term “Obamagate.” If this information keeps coming out the way it does, that laughter is going to go down very quickly.

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Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Biden faces limits of $1.9T COVID aid as some states resist

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Biden faces limits of $1.9T COVID aid as some states resist

President Biden entered the White House promising to stop the twin health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, but $1.9 trillion and countless initiatives later, he’s confronting the limits of what Washington can achieve when some state and local governments are unwilling or unable to step up.

Six months after Congress passed the massive rescue plan, administration records show that more than $550 billion has yet to be disbursed. The sum could help provide a key economic backstop as the coronavirus’s delta variant continues to pose a threat. But in some cases, it’s also led to frustration, as aid for renters, testing and vaccines goes unused despite mass outreach campaigns.

Republican critics say the unspent money shows that Biden’s relief package was too big and inflationary; the administration says the unspent funds reflect the extent of planning in case the recovery from the pandemic hits more snags with virus mutations and unexpected economic disruptions. By law, about $105 billion of the state and local aid and more than half of the expanded child tax credits cannot be paid out yet.

“There are some things designed to address immediate hardship and others that are designed to allow for a multi-year policy response — they’re not really bugs, they’re features,” Gene Sperling, who is overseeing the rescue plan for Biden, said. “The fact that a solid portion of these funds can be used over a few year period is a good-news story for ensuring a durable recovery.”

But some of the backlog stems from bottlenecks — or outright blockages — at the state or local level, beyond the influence of Washington. The extent of the challenge was apparent when Biden recently announced new vaccine requirements for federal workers and employers with 100 or more workers and emphasized the need for testing and keeping schools open.

“We’re facing a lot of pushback, especially from some of the Republican governors,” Biden said Thursday. “The governors of Florida and Texas — they’re doing everything they can to undermine the lifesaving requirements that I’ve proposed.”

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MN China Friendship Garden Society hosts activities Saturday

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MN China Friendship Garden Society hosts activities Saturday

The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society has organized a day of activities on Saturday by Lake Phalen, culminating in a traditional mid-autumn moon festival, mooncake testing and model catwalk demonstration in the early evening.

Events will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden’s Xiang Jiang pavilion, which is a replica of Changsha’s famous Aiwan Pavilion. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch, a chair or blanket for seating, and cultural or festive attire.

The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society will dedicate a Hmong Plaza, unveil nine art stones and launch “phase two” of a community engagement process around the future of the garden and pavilion, which was erected in 2018 with the help of designers, engineers and laborers from Changsha, a St. Paul sister-city for some 30 years. There will also be a poetry reading.

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Is social media good and bad like a car? Instagram chief under fire for comparison

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Is social media good and bad like a car? Instagram chief under fire for comparison

(NewsNation Now) — Facebook’s Instagram chief is under fire after he compared the negative effects of social media to cars.

“Cars have positive and negative outcomes,” Adam Mosseri said on the Recode Media podcast. “We understand that we know that more people die than would otherwise because of car accidents. But by and large, cars create way more value in the world than they destroy. And I think social media is similar.”

It comes days after Facebook acknowledged it had data showing at least a quarter of its youngest users found Instagram exacerbated feelings of low self-esteem and poor body image. Critics say the company should have used that data to make positive changes.

At least three senators have written a letter to the company asking it to rethink its upcoming Instagram for kids platform.

There are some, including Divided State of America host Heather Gardner, who believe the senators should do more.

“There’s a lack of [social media] regulation on the federal level and the state level,” Gardner said on NewsNation’s The Donlon Report on Thursday. “So comparing [social media to cars] is definitely not apples to apples.”

The impact on kids can be long lasting. Dr. Katherine Kuhlman, a psychologist in Arizona, said one of the things about children that is supposed to help them grow could be negatively impacted by social media.

“Adolescent and child brains have a lot of elasticity, which is great for learning. It means that they’re kind of like a sponge and they can soak things up,” Kuhlman said on NewsNation’s On Balance with Leland Vittert. “But what that also means is that they are far more susceptible and vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.”

At issue is dopamine, which the brain releases as a sort of pleasure chemical.

“We, more than anything else, have to help educate our teens about the way these platforms are designed,” Dr. Wendy Dickinson said on On Balance. “They’re designed to be addictive. Every time something refreshes, or you get a another like, you get a hit of dopamine, which causes you to come back.”

Earlier this week, when asked for comment about the data it collected, Facebook pointed us to a blog post where they said even trying to understand the numbers was proof the company cared about its users.

Though it uses different wording than Mosseri, the underlying message from the company is similar.

“The question on many people’s minds is if social media is good or bad for people. The research on this is mixed; it can be both,” it says.

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Fire crews contain hydrochloric acid spill at Hazelwood aerospace company

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Fire crews contain hydrochloric acid spill at Hazelwood aerospace company

ST. LOUIS – Fire crews responded to a hydrochloric acid spill at an aerospace company in Hazelwood Friday afternoon. The spill has been contained and there is no danger to the public.

The incident happened at GKN Aerospace on McDonnell Boulevard around 4:45 p.m. GKN is a British Aerospace company that works closely with Boeing.

The spill was mixed with water causing hydro fluorine gas to form. Aerospace workers were evacuated from the buildings. Decontamination stations were set up outside the site.

The spill was contained by north and west St. Louis County firefighters. Two firefighters who were injured were treated at a hospital and were released.

The operations at the GKN Aerospace will be offline for the next several days as GKN and a contractor clean up the buildings.

Lindbergh, James S. McDonnell Boulevard, and Banshee Road have been reopened.

Bommarito Automotive Skyfox was over the scene where there were yellowish-brown color fumes coming out of smokestacks.

GKN released a statement saying its focus is on the safety of its employees and personnel at the facility. The company is working with first responders and officials and will release an update when necessary.

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US panel backs COVID-19 boosters only for seniors, high-risk

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US panel backs COVID-19 boosters only for seniors, high-risk

By MATTHEW PERRONE and LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON — Dealing the White House a stinging setback, a government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the board, and instead endorsed the extra vaccine dose only for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.

The twin votes represented a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort, announced a month ago, to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said the state is glad the FDA removed a “deadly impediment” for those who’ll be eligible for booster shots.

“This recommendation… is overdue but welcome news,” he said.

Polis added: “We want to end the pandemic now and our state is ready to administer the booster to our seniors in long-term care and residential facilities starting as soon as next week. The United States can get more people protected with the first two doses, give effective boosters, and export the safe and effective vaccine to countries abroad. This is not a time to pick just one — our country has enough safe and effective vaccine for all three.”

The nonbinding recommendation — from an influential committee of outside experts who advise the Food and Drug Administration — is not the last word. The FDA will consider the group’s advice and make its own decision, probably within days. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to weigh in next week.

In a surprising turn, the advisory panel rejected, 16-2, boosters for almost everyone. Members cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and also raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups.

Then, in an 18-0 vote, it endorsed extra shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious disease. Panel members also agreed that health workers and others who run a high risk of being exposed to the virus on the job should get boosters, too.

Polis said he anticipates that rule will apply to “essentially everyone” in Colorado who received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, since at that point — mid-March — the state was still working to get the vaccine to high-priority people, and had not yet opened eligibility to the general public.

That would help salvage part of the White House’s campaign but would still be a huge step back from the far-reaching proposal to offer third shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to Americans eight months after they get their second dose.

The White House sought to frame the action as progress.

“Today was an important step forward in providing better protection to Americans from COVID-19,” said White House spokesman Kevin Munoz. “We stand ready to provide booster shots to eligible Americans once the process concludes at the end of next week.”

The CDC has said it is considering boosters for older people, nursing home residents and front-line health care workers, rather than all adults.

The FDA and CDC will most likely decide at some later point whether people who received the Moderna or J&J shots should get boosters.

During several hours of vigorous debate Friday, members of the panel questioned the value of offering boosters to almost everybody 16 and over.

“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”

Dr. Amanda Cohn of the CDC said, “At this moment it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States.”

In a statement, Kathrin U. Jansen, Pfizer head of vaccine research and development, said the company continues to believe that boosters will be a “critical tool in the ongoing effort to control the spread of this virus.”

Scientists inside and outside the government have been divided recently over the need for boosters and who should get them, and the World Health Organization has strongly objected to rich nations giving a third round of shots when poor countries don’t have enough vaccine for their first.

While research suggests immunity levels in those who have been vaccinated wane over time and boosters can reverse that, the Pfizer vaccine is still highly protective against severe illness and death, even amid the delta variant.

The unexpected turn of events could reinforce criticism that the Biden administration got out ahead of the science in its push for boosters. President Joe Biden promised early on that his administration would “follow the science,” in the wake of disclosures of political meddling in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

The FDA panel’s overwhelming initial rejection came despite full-throated arguments about the need for boosters from both Pfizer and health officials from Israel, which began offering boosters to its citizens in July.

Sharon Alroy-Preis of Israel’s Ministry of Health said the booster dose improves protection tenfold against infection in people 60 and older.

“It’s like a fresh vaccine,” bringing protection back to original levels and helping Israel “dampen severe cases in the fourth wave,” she said.

Representatives for Pfizer argued that it is important to start shoring up immunity before protection begins to erode. A company study of 44,000 people showed effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 96% two months after the second dose, but had dropped to 84% by around six months.

Both Pfizer and the Israeli representatives faced pushback from panelists. Several were skeptical about the relevance of Israel’s experience to the U.S. Another concern was whether third doses would exacerbate serious side effects, including rare instances of heart inflammation in younger men.

Pfizer pointed to Israeli data from nearly 3 million boosters to suggest side effect rates would be similar to those already reported.

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he was supportive of a third dose for adults over 60 or 65, but “I really have trouble” supporting it for anyone down to age 16.

While an extra shot would probably at least temporarily reduce cases with mild or no symptoms, “the question becomes what will be the impact of that on the arc of the pandemic, which may not be all that much,” Offit said.

Biden’s top health advisers, including the heads of the FDA and CDC, first announced plans for widespread booster shots in mid-August, setting the week of Sept. 20 as an all-but-certain start date. But that was before FDA staff scientists had completed their own assessments of the data.

Earlier this week, two top FDA vaccine reviewers joined a group of international scientists in publishing an editorial rejecting the need for boosters in healthy people. The scientists said studies show the shots are working well.

On Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said the Biden administration announcement was not aimed at pressuring regulators to act but was instead an attempt to be transparent with the public and be prepared in the event that boosters won approval.

“We have always said that this initial plan would be contingent on the FDA and the CDC’s independent evaluation,” Murthy said.

The Biden plan has also raised major ethical concerns about impoverished parts of the world still clamoring for vaccine. But the administration argued that the plan was not an us-or-them choice, noting that the U.S. is supplying large quantities of vaccine to the rest of the globe.

The U.S. has already approved Pfizer and Moderna boosters for certain people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients.

Some Americans, healthy or not, have managed to get boosters, in some cases simply by showing up and asking for a shot. And some health systems already are offering extra doses to high-risk people.

Denver Post reporter Alex Burness contributed to this report.

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Home Showcase: Gloucester prize on the beach

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Home Showcase: Gloucester prize on the beach

When 54 Adams Hill Road in Gloucester was listed as “steps from the beach,” they never mentioned you could count those steps on two hands.

After being in the same family for almost 100 years, “Stonepatch Cottage” is finally hitting the market as a shingle-covered charmer on the shore of Cambridge Beach. As a summer home or a year-round retreat, the home is a nod to simple, unfussy living. And while it’s not luxurious, it’s sure to be rich in memories for its lucky new owners.

Naturally, the beach proximity can’t be overstated. Facing Ipswich Bay and sparkling shoreline, the home enjoys unobstructed views and a salty breeze. Natural wood walls, a cozy wood-burning fireplace and a screened porch are complemented by an oversized picture window in the living room overlooking the water, with sounds of crashing waves below.

A dining space in the efficient eat-in kitchen enjoys the same inspiring views.

Buyers will love the flexibility of three bedrooms, including one on the first floor with a full bath. The primary bedroom, with walk-in closet, and a generous guest bedroom occupy the home’s second floor; there’s even a walk-up attic with expansion possibilities. Ocean views from all bedrooms? Like you had to ask.

Boating enthusiasts will appreciate Annisquam Yacht Club just a short stroll away.

For more information about the home, on the market for $2,495,000, contact Scott Smith with Coldwell Banker, 617-750-2793.

 

Home Showcase:

Address: 54 Adams Hill Rd, Gloucester

Bedrooms: 3

List Price: $2,495,000

Square feet: 1,273

Price per square foot: $1,960

Annual taxes: $22,707 in 2021

Location: Steps from the beach

Built in: 1920

The Appraisal:

Pros:

Beach location

Laid-back charm

Cons:

May want interior updates

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Out of a playoff spot, United feeling the pressure

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Out of a playoff spot, United feeling the pressure

Tension has ratcheted up on Minnesota United.

The Loons have fallen out of the seven MLS Cup Playoffs spots for the Western Conference. They had plans — which now might resemble hopes —
for a top-four spot and at least one game at Allianz Field.

One example of the tension growing is the club let go of the director of sports science as injuries during stacked up over the past two weeks.

The latest stage of United’s slide caused road rash in a 4-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. The primary blight has been goal-scoring with only one West club, expansion side Austin FC, scoring fewer goals. Minnesota has 24 in 23 games.

It doesn’t get much easier with fourth-place L.A. Galaxy (11-8-5) coming to Allianz Field at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Two bits of positive news: Leading scorer Robin Lod could play more after coming back from a five-game absence for the K.C. game, and top
playmaker Emanuel Reynoso might be back after a three-game absence.

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Police: Male hospitalized after suffering gunshot wound in Albany

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Police: Male hospitalized after suffering gunshot wound in Albany

JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) – A disease deadly to deer is spreading throughout New York State.

On Thursday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease has spread to Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Nassau, Oswego, Suffolk, and Ulster counties. The DEC is also tracking suspected cases in Albany, Jefferson, Oneida, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.

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‘We will be ready’: Capitol Police prepare for Saturday rally

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‘We will be ready’: Capitol Police prepare for Saturday rally

LAKE OZARK, Mo. – One month after a fatal shooting between motorcycle gangs outside a bar at the Lake of the Ozarks, more than 100,000 people are expected to attend the annual Bikefest Rally this weekend. 

Local and visitors can expect to hear the constant sound of motorcycles throughout the Lake until Sunday evening. Missouri State Highway Patrol said they have extra troopers in place to help, but the City of Lake Ozark said it’s not necessarily because of last month’s fatal shooting, instead, it’s because they don’t have enough officers. 

“We are talking about tens of thousands of people coming to a town of 1,800 people or a lake area,” public information officer for Lake Ozark Police Dan Field said. “You can’t expect to manage that many people with a police force of fewer than 14 people.”

Motorcycles have been coming to the Lake of the Ozarks for the annual Bikefest Rally for 15 years. It was started by local businesses for riders to enjoy the area. 

“Bikefest in this community is more or less the camaraderie of everyone,” John Brown from Stover, Missouri, said. “It put everyone together in one spot.”

Brown has been coming to the annual rally for ten years. He now is a member of Bikers For Christ, an organization that cooks a free breakfast for motorcyclists. 

“It’s just a good time,” Brown said. “We get together and share our motorcycles and our custom ideas.”

Field said this event is a huge boost to the local economy. 

“They [attendees] stay all over the lake,” Field said. “The motels are full, the AirBNBs are full, the campgrounds are full, the place just fills up.”

Since Wednesday, there has been the roar of motorcycles around the lake. 

“It will just be a constant rumble, constant,” Field said. 

“I love that sound by the way,” Nicole Beckman said while laughing. 

Beckman and her husband rode their motorcycles from Delavan, Wisconsin to the Lake, an eight-hour trip. It’s their first time attending Bikefest.

“On YouTube, we saw a lot of different people posting about being here for this week and it really encouraged us to come out and do it also,” Beckman said.

“I would come back in a heartbeat. We’re definitely planning out next year’s trip here already.”

Beckman said she heard about last month’s shooting that left one dead and injured four others outside Casablanca Bar and Grill on the Strip but said she has felt safe with her group. 

“We haven’t come across anybody that has been rude or cruel in any way,” Beckman said. “There’s people from everywhere, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Missouri, I mean you name it.”

Field said local and state law enforcement agencies will also be on hand this week patrolling. 

“A lot of police departments are down in numbers, including ours,” Field said. “Safety is our concern for all of our visitors and residents, whether it’s this weekend or any weekend.”

Since the shooting last month, Field said the only thing he’s noticed different on the Strip, is some restaurants and businesses have posted signs saying. “Absolutely: NO PATCHES, NO ROCKERS, NO COLORS ON PREMISE.” He believes it is regarding the fight between the motorcycle gangs in July. 

“Beyond that, it’s pretty much been business as usual,” Field said. “It’s been a great summer for us down here.”

Brown said he and other riders are just excited to enjoy a bike rally after others have been canceled or scaled back. 

“Most of them because of COVID they’re worried about, we’re not worried about it here,” Brown said. 

Bikefest goes through Sunday night. The Strip is closed to all vehicles other than motorcycles. The Bagnell Dam is also closed due to construction. 

Find a list of events for Bikefest here

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Physical CU Buffs expecting stern test from Minnesota

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Physical CU Buffs expecting stern test from Minnesota

Colorado didn’t beat Texas A&M a week ago but the Buffaloes made a statement.

Standing toe-to-toe with one of the best and most physical football teams in the country signaled that CU might be finding an identity. As CU prepares to host Minnesota on Saturday, it has plenty of work to do on offense but it is establishing a culture of physicality.

“It was a culture we tried to create during spring ball,” defensive lineman Na’im Rodman said. “Then we just carried on to fall camp and I think it’s a part of us now. I think we’ve instilled it in ourselves and we know we can be one of the most physical teams anybody plays against every time they go against us.”

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