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    Sen. Mitt Romney says he's 'sickened' by the dishonesty the Russia investigation found in the Trump White House, but the president fires back that Romney should have put the same energy into running for president in 2012 that the Utah Republican has tapped in criticizing him. Romney also tweeted Friday that in reading the special counsel's report he was 'appalled' Americans working on the Trump campaign had welcomed help from Russia. On Saturday, Trump responded via Twitter, saying if Romney 'spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!' In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016. He's one of the few prominent Republicans to criticize Trump since Trump's election.
  • A Washington state lawmaker has angered nurses and spawned a flurry of viral hashtags and memes on social media by saying that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in small, rural hospitals. State Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican representing College Place, Washington, made the comments this week while debating a Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. The bill would also provide mandatory overtime protections for nurses. Walsh wants an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds from the breaks, The Olympian reported on Friday. Small, rural hospitals 'that literally serve a handful of individuals' will have trouble staying open and nurses in those settings 'probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,' the newspaper quoted Walsh as saying. A Washington State Nurses Association blog about the comments drew so many readers Friday that the site crashed. The group called the comment disrespectful and patronizing. The hashtags #maureenwalsh and #nursesplaycards went viral on social media. Comedian Kathy Griffin joined the fray Friday, tweeting that her mother worked in a hospital. 'Thank you of alerting me to a group that even I am not stupid enough to piss off. Ever,' Griffin tweeted. Walsh didn't respond to a request for comment from the newspaper. Recruiting nurses to rural facilities already is difficult and exempting them from laws requiring uninterrupted breaks and subjecting them to mandatory overtime would make recruiting more difficult, the Washington State Nurses Association said. The bill passed the state Senate with the amendment excluding small hospitals. It had previously passed the House without the amendment. The different House and Senate versions of the bill will have to be reconciled before being signed into law. The bill specifically requires that nurses and some other staff, such as surgical technologists and diagnostic radiologic technologists, be provided uninterrupted meal and rest periods, except when there is an unforeseeable circumstance. If a rest break is interrupted before 10 complete minutes, an additional 10-minute break is required. It also would prohibit health care facilities from using what the nurses association considers a legal loophole to require overtime. The association said it has tried to address the issues of skipped breaks and mandatory overtime with individual contract bargaining and litigation, but the problem remains pervasive. Rest breaks are proven to address fatigue, which can lead to medical errors, it said.
  • Some Democratic contenders for president aren't saying whether they would re-open investigations into President Donald Trump if they were to oust him from the White House in 2020. Their reluctance comes as some liberals, including fellow 2020 challenger Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have increased the pressure on Democratic leaders to pursue impeachment following the release of a redacted version of the Mueller report. During recent stops in early-voting states, two U.S. senators in the race and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg wouldn't say whether they'd press the Justice Department to reopen investigations into Trump. 'Well, let's see because when I'm elected president that will still be about two years from now, so ask me that question then,' Sen. Kamala Harris of California said Saturday while campaigning in South Carolina. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Buttigieg focused on existing investigations of the president. Campaigning in Nevada on Friday, Booker said it's premature to say whether he would instruct his attorney general to reopen the Trump investigations if he's elected president. 'You are talking about January 2021,' Booker told reporters in Reno. 'We have a lot of investigations that are going on right now.' Buttigieg echoed that sentiment Friday as he prepared to campaign in New Hampshire this weekend, saying that 'it depends what the basis for it is.' 'It's certainly the case that there are various unanswered questions,' he said. 'I don't know that that has to happen from a president directing an attorney general to do something, though, because a lot of this just works through the legal system.' A voter attending a house party for Warren in New Hampshire on Saturday thanked her for calling for impeachment. However, some Democratic voters are wary of how impeachment could embolden Trump supporters. ___ Associated Press writer Juana Summers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, contributed to this report.
  • A New Mexico man belonging to an armed group that has detained Central American families near the U.S.-Mexico border was arrested Saturday in a border community on a criminal complaint accusing him of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, authorities said. The FBI said in a statement it arrested 69-year-old Larry Mitchell Hopkins in Sunland Park with the assistance of local police. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a separate statement that Hopkins was a member of the group that had stopped migrants. Hopkins was booked into the Dona Ana County detention center in Las Cruces and it wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney who could comment on the allegations. The FBI statement did not provide information on Hopkins' background, and FBI spokesman Frank Fisher told The Associated Press that no additional information would be released until after Hopkins has an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Las Cruces. The FBI said Hopkins is from Flora Vista, a rural community in northern New Mexico and approximately 353 miles (572 kilometers) north of Sunland Park, which is a suburb of El Paso, Texas. The Sunland Park Police Department on Saturday referred an AP reporter to the FBI. Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins 'is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families. Today's arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.' Federal authorities on Friday warned private groups to avoid policing the border after a string of videos on social media showed armed civilians detaining large groups of Central American families in New Mexico. The videos posted earlier in the week show members of United Constitutional Patriots ordering family groups as small as seven and as large as several hundred to sit on the dirt with their children, some toddlers, waiting until Border Patrol agents arrive. Customs and Border Protection said on its Twitter account that it 'does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands. Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved.' Jim Benvie, a spokesman for United Constitutional Patriots, did not immediately respond Saturday to a request for comment made via Facebook. Benvie said in a video that the group's members were assisting a 'stressed and overstrained Border Patrol' and said the group is legally armed for self-defense and never points guns at migrants. The posted videos do not show them with firearms drawn. Armed civilian groups have been a fixture on the border for years, especially when large numbers of migrants come. But, unlike previous times, many of the migrants crossing now are children. In the Border Patrol's El Paso sector, which has emerged as the second-busiest corridor for illegal crossings after Texas' Rio Grande Valley, 86% of arrests in March were people who came as families or unaccompanied children.
  • A 5-year-old Michigan boy had a craving for McDonald's but his grandmother was sleeping so he called 911 and made a request. WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids reports Iziah Hall of Wyoming asked the dispatcher: 'Can you bring me McDonald's?' Dispatcher Sara Kuberski says she told him no but reached out to the police. Wyoming police officer Dan Patterson says the April 14 request made him laugh, so he stopped at McDonald's on his way to check on Iziah's home in the western Michigan city. Patterson says he thought, 'I'm driving past McDonald's on my way there and I might as well get him something.' The officer says the first thing the boy said to him was, 'My grandma's gonna be so mad, can you please go away?' ___ Information from: WZZM-TV, http://www.wzzm13.com
  • The Latest on events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting (all times local): 6 p.m. A ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting has ended with the names of 12 students and a teacher killed being read aloud, accompanied by the release of white doves. More than 2,000 people attended the event in a park near the suburban Denver high school on Saturday afternoon. Frank DeAngelis, who was the school's principal during the 1999 shooting, said he begins every morning by reciting the victims' names. He thanked their families for supporting him and the school in the decades since their loved ones were killed by two teenage gunmen. Saturday's ceremony ended a three-day slate of somber gatherings honoring the victims and lending support to survivors, the school and victims' families. ___ 5 p.m. Those affected by the Columbine shooting are speaking openly and emotionally about their struggles and advances since 12 students and a teacher were killed 20 years ago. Patrick Ireland became known as 'the boy in the window' when cameras caught him dangling from a second-story window before falling during the 1999 school shooting. He was partially paralyzed and had to re-learn how to walk and speak. During a remembrance ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the school attack Saturday, he said that no one who was in the school or the surrounding community was unscathed. He said those affected need to persevere to help positively impact other people's lives. Dawn Anna's daughter Lauren Townsend was killed. She said the only secret to surviving such a loss is that there is no secret and that healing takes work. But she said those who lost loved ones have also become stronger in some ways and have tried to help others and feel for other families suffering because of other shootings. ____ 3:30 p.m. People are gathered in suburban Denver for a remembrance ceremony honoring the victims of those killed in the Columbine High School shootings 20 years ago. Saturday's ceremony near the school ends a three-day slate of somber gatherings honoring the victims and lending support to survivors, the school and victims' families. Speakers stressed the strength and change that came out of the tragedy. To symbolize that, artist Makoto Fujimura presented a 17th century Japanese tea bowl that was broken but then mended with gold, making it better and more beautiful. Pastor James Hoxworth urged anyone who was still struggling because of the shooting to reach out for help. ____ 1:05 p.m. A steady stream of people are visiting a memorial to the 13 people killed at Columbine High School 20 years ago ahead of a remembrance ceremony in suburban Denver. Visitors left dozens of single flowers along with cards and seed packets for columbines, the Colorado state flower, on the inner circle of the memorial Saturday. Sheriff's deputies patrolled the area on foot and by bike on a warm day as little league games went on at nearby fields. Saturday's events in the suburban area surrounding Columbine end a three-day slate of somber ceremonies honoring the victims and lending support to survivors, the school and victims' families. This week brought a new burden as federal authorities led a manhunt for a Florida teen 'infatuated' with the shooting. She was discovered dead in an apparent suicide Wednesday in the foothills west of Denver. ____ 10:30 p.m. A Colorado community is marking the 20th anniversary of the attack on Columbine High School that killed 13 people and injured 24 others with community service projects and a remembrance ceremony. Saturday's events end several days of memorial events in the suburban community surrounding Columbine, remembering those killed and lending support to their families, survivors of the attack and the school's students and staff. The days surrounding the anniversary remain emotionally fraught for survivors of the attack, including those without physical wounds. This week brought a new burden as federal authorities led a manhunt for a Florida teen 'infatuated' with the shooting. The young woman flew to Denver on Monday and purchased a shotgun. She was discovered dead in an apparent suicide Wednesday in the foothills west of Denver.
  • City officials say a tiger mauled a zookeeper at the Topeka Zoo in northeastern Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when a Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv tackled the worker in an enclosed outdoor space. Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the zookeeper suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to her head, neck and back. Wiley says she was awake and alert when she was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was in stable condition Saturday afternoon. The zookeeper's name has not been released. Wiley says the tiger will not be euthanized. The zoo was open at the time of the attack and was witnessed by some people. It reopened about 45 minutes after the attack. Officials are investigating what led up to the attack. Sanjiv came to the Topeka Zoo in August 2017 from a zoo in Akron, Ohio. ___ Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com
  • A prominent cancer center in Houston has ousted three of five scientists whom federal authorities identified as being involved in Chinese efforts to steal American research. Peter Pisters, the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, told the Houston Chronicle that the National Institutes of Health wrote to the cancer center last year detailing conflicts of interest and unreported foreign income by five faculty members, and gave it 30 days to respond. 'As stewards of taxpayer dollars invested in biomedical research, we have an obligation to follow up,' Pisters said. MD Anderson received $148 million in NIH grants last year. The center provided internal documents to the Chronicle regarding the cases but the names of the scientists were redacted. The newspaper said all three are ethnically Chinese. Two of them resigned ahead of termination proceedings and the third is challenging the dismissal. Officials determined termination was not warranted for one of the remaining two and are still investigating the other. It's not clear if any of them face federal charges or deportation. An FBI spokeswoman in Houston, Christina Garza, said Saturday that the agency 'does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.' Pisters said MD Anderson's reputation as the world's No. 1 cancer center made it an obvious target, but the newspaper report doesn't say what evidence of intellectual property theft was uncovered at the facility. The dismissals come amid heightened concern in Washington, D.C., that foreign governments including China have been using students and visiting scholars to pilfer intellectual property from confidential grant applications. At a gathering in Houston last summer, FBI officials warned Texas academic and medical institutions of the threat, particularly from insiders, and called on them to notify the agency of any suspicious behavior. A 2017 FBI report found that intellectual-property theft by China costs the U.S. as much as $600 billion annually. FBI Director Christopher Wray has called China 'the broadest, most significant' threat to the nation and that its espionage is active in all 50 states. 'This is part of a much larger issue the country is facing,' Pisters told the Chronicle. 'Trying to balance an open collaborative environment and at the same time protect proprietary information and commercial interests.' Some Chinese Americans say the crackdown amounts to racial profiling and that it hinders groundbreaking research. 'Scientific research depends on the free flow of ideas,' Frank H. Wu, president of the New York-based Committee of 100, a group of influential Chinese Americans, told the newspaper. 'Our national interest is best advanced by welcoming people, not by racial stereotyping based on where a person comes from.
  • An Oregon county has agreed to pay $100,000 to a black employee who sued alleging she was harassed after asking that a Blue Lives Matter flag not be displayed in the office. Karimah Guion-Pledgure said in her January lawsuit against Multnomah County that the flag demeans the Black Lives Matter movement, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Saturday. She said she was harassed by others in the office after she and other black co-workers complained. The settlement, reached Thursday, was first reported by Portland's alternative bi-weekly newspaper, The Portland Mercury. Black Lives Matter is an activist movement formed in 2013 that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. Proponents of Blue Lives Matter say it's meant to support and honor the work and sacrifices of law enforcement officers. The Blue Lives Matter flag is a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe replacing one white stripe in the middle. Thin Blue Line USA, which sells the flags, says the thin blue line represents offices in the line of duty and the black represents fallen officers. Guion-Pledgure's lawsuit said the Blue Lives Matter movement 'co-opts' the Black Lives Matter movement and 'repurposes it to shift focus to law enforcement — a chosen profession, not a racial identity — and thus denigrates, dilutes, and demeans the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement.' About a month before the probation officer put up the Blue Lives Matter flag in 2017, white supremacist demonstrators displayed that same flag alongside Confederate flags during a 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the lawsuit notes. One person died and dozens of others were injured when a man deliberately rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters. Members of Blue Lives Matter condemned the use of their flag at the rally. After the probation officer's flag had been on the wall for more than six months, Guion-Pledgure erected an 'equity wall' that displayed photos of minorities killed by police, the suit stated. Managers told her to take down the photos, the lawsuit says, but she refused because the Blue Lives Matter flag remained. That same day, Guion-Pledgure found two sticky notes affixed to her equity wall reading 'Thanks a lot' and 'Bitch,' according to the lawsuit. Guion-Pledgure alleged that her supervisor in the Department of Community Justice didn't require the flag to be taken down and the conflict caused her extreme stress and health issues. A week later, managers responded with a new rule that all personal photos displayed needed to be smaller than 5-by-7 inches (13-by-18 centimeters), according to the suit. Managers are now developing a countywide policy on personal displays of photos and other items in response to the lawsuit, said Multnomah County spokeswoman Jessica Morkert-Shibley. As part of the agreement, Guion-Pledgure had to resign by Friday but can reapply for a county job. 'She's disappointed that she has to leave there and that they couldn't make it a safe and welcoming work environment,' said her attorney, Ashlee Albies. 'They say they're working on that, and we hope they really are.' Guion-Pledgure had worked for the department since 2011 as a corrections technician. She originally sought $420,000 in the lawsuit.
  • A federal lawsuit filed by death row inmates has renewed a court fight over whether the sedative Arkansas uses for lethal injections causes torturous executions, two years after the state raced to put eight convicted killers to death in 11 days before a previous batch of the drug expired. Arkansas recently expanded the secrecy surrounding its lethal injection drug sources, and the case heading to trial Tuesday could impact its efforts to restart executions that have been on hold due to a lack of the drugs. It'll also be the latest in a series of legal battles over midazolam, a sedative that other states have moved away from using amid claims it doesn't render inmates fully unconscious during lethal injections. States that want to avoid unnecessarily inhumane executions will be watching closely, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which has criticized the way states carry out the death penalty. But, Dunham added, 'states that are watching because they want to figure out how to just execute people will be looking to see what Arkansas is able to get away with.' Only four of the eight executions scheduled in Arkansas over 11 days in 2017 actually happened, with courts halting the others. The state currently doesn't have any executions scheduled, and Arkansas' supply of the three drugs used in its lethal injection process has expired. Another round of multiple executions is unlikely if Arkansas finds more drugs, since only one death row inmate has exhausted all his appeals. This time, Arkansas isn't racing against the clock to execute inmates before a drug expires. The state currently doesn't have any execution drugs available, but officials believe they'll be able to get more once the secrecy law takes effect this summer. State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says the inmates in the case have a very high burden to meet and cites a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month against a Missouri death row inmate. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority in that case, wrote that the U.S. Constitution 'does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death.' Rutledge called the federal case in Arkansas the latest attempt by death row inmates to delay their sentences from being carried out. 'Juries gave these individuals lawful sentences for committing the most heinous acts against a human being, taking another human being's innocent life,' Rutledge, a Republican, said. 'We must see these sentences carried out. The families of these victims deserve justice.' Thirty states have the death penalty. Governors in four of them — Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania and California — have declared moratoriums, and court rulings have effectively put executions on hold in several others. The list of death penalty states is poised to shrink, though, with New Hampshire lawmakers sending the governor a repeal measure. Bills to repeal or significantly curtail the death penalty have been introduced in 18 states this year, Dunham said. Much of the trial over Arkansas' process will focus on midazolam, which critics have said doesn't render inmates fully unconscious before the other lethal injection drugs are administered. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld midazolam's use in executions in 2015, but its use continues to prompt legal challenges nationwide. Seven states have used the sedative as the first administered in a three-drug execution process, and two have used it in a two-drug process, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Critics have cited problematic executions involving the sedative as evidence that it doesn't work properly. Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett remained alive for 43 minutes, groaning and writhing on a gurney after an intravenous line was improperly connected in his 2014 execution. Inmate Joseph Wood gasped for air, snorted and his belly inflated and deflated during the nearly two hours it took him to die during his execution in Arizona in 2014. Under Arkansas' execution process, inmates are first administered midazolam. They're then administered vecuronium bromide, which stops the lungs, followed by potassium chloride, which stops the heart. Attorneys for a group of death row inmates argue that two of Arkansas' executions in 2017 demonstrate the problems with midazolam. One execution cited is that of convicted murderer Kenneth Williams, who witnesses said lurched and convulsed 20 times before he died. Another inmate, Marcel Williams, arched his back and breathed heavily during his execution, according to a witness. Based on past court rulings, the inmates will also have to prove there's an alternative to the state's lethal injection method available that's likely to be less painful. The inmates' attorneys have argued those alternatives include firing squads and a barbiturate commonly used in physician-assisted suicide. Other states have moved away from midazolam over concerns about the drug. Ohio's Republican governor earlier this year ordered the prison system to look at alternative drugs after a federal judge said midazolam could cause severe pain and needless suffering. Oklahoma put executions on hold in 2015 after a series of mishaps that included a botched execution involving midazolam, and the state is now developing a plan to execute inmates using nitrogen gas. 'If the court in Arkansas finds that midazolam is a drug that doesn't do what the state claims that it does and in effect tortures prisoners when it's used in executions, that's going to be another state that may not be able to use the drug,' said Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender in Arizona who has been involved in litigation in that state and Oklahoma over the use of midazolam. The trial comes weeks after Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law a measure prohibiting the release of information that could directly or indirectly identify the source of its executions drugs. The measure was in response to state Supreme Court rulings that the current secrecy law doesn't cover the manufacturers of Arkansas' drugs. Arkansas' supply of drugs has expired, and prison officials last year said they wouldn't search for more until the secrecy measure was enacted. The bill faced criticism from media organizations and death penalty opponents, especially over its criminal penalties for recklessly disclosing the information. Two pharmaceutical companies also objected to the law, saying it would hamper their ability to ensure their drugs aren't used in executions. The new law takes effect in late July. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

The Latest News Headlines

  • Pope Francis is delivering his annual Easter message Sunday after leading Mass at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. >> Watch the address here Every year after the Easter Mass, the pope delivers an “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, which addresses global issues and conflicts. >> PHOTOS: Pope Francis celebrates Easter Mass at the Vatican This year’s speech comes hours after blasts rocked multiple churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds more. >> Read more trending news  Please return for updates.
  • Explosions hit at least three churches and four hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds more, news outlets are reporting. >> PHOTOS: Easter Sunday blasts at Sri Lanka churches, hotels kill dozens Here are the latest updates: Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 21: Two more blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. A seventh explosion hit a hotel in Dehiwala, and an eighth blast was reported in the capital, Agence France-Presse is reporting. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 156 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 35 foreigners, officials said. Update 3:34 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 137 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 45 people in Colombo, 67 in Negombo and 25 in Batticaloa, officials said. At least nine of the people killed were foreigners, the news agency reported. More than 500 people were hurt in the explosions, according to The Associated Press. Original report: Explosions hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring nearly 300 more, news outlets are reporting. According to The Associated Press, blasts occurred Sunday morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and a church in Batticaloa. Explosions also rocked the Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels in Colombo, the BBC reported. >> Read more trending news The Agence France-Presse news agency said 52 people died in the blasts. At least 283 people were taken to the hospital, the AP reported. Suicide bombers may have caused at least two of the church blasts, a security official told the AP.  – The Associated Press contributed to this report
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says a 19-year-old man has been arrested for a deadly double shooting back in February.  JSO asked for your help finding the suspect, Trevon Wiley, just days after the February 16th shooting on Matthew Street; now he's been taken into custody.  According to police, Wiley was sitting in a barber chair next to one of the victims getting their haircut. Police say he then stood up, without saying anything, displayed a gun and then shot the victim multiple times, killing him. Police identified the victim as Ziykye Barnhill. JSO says a second person was shot during this incident, but survived.  Police say multiple witnesses came forward to help with the shooting investigation.  Wiley is charged with murder and attempted murder.
  • The family of a 5-year-old boy thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America last week says he is making “small steps” as he recovers from his devastating injuries. Landen Hoffman was shopping with his mother and friends around 10:15 a.m. April 12 when Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking the boy up and hurling him over a railing to the first floor nearly 40 feet below. Aranda tried to run, but police, with help from witnesses, found him on a light rail train at the mall and took him into custody.  >> Read more trending news “The family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence,” a GoFundMe page set up to help with Landen’s medical bills states. As of Friday morning, the page had raised more than $870,000 of its $1 million goal.  Landen, who suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma, was initially in critical condition, according to the criminal complaint against Aranda. His condition has since stabilized, but he has a long road to recovery, the GoFundMe page reads.  “(His) condition is again similar to previous days. Another peaceful night of sleep -- small steps towards the healing process. Each new day is a good day,” the page read Thursday.  “Landen's recovery is expected to be ongoing for a long time. While it’s hard to estimate costs, this will change everything for their family and require much of their time and focus.” Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Aranda is being held in the Hennepin County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond.  >> Related story: Man who threw 5-year-old from third floor of Mall of America intended to kill someone, police say “This crime has shocked the community,” Freeman said in a news release. “That a child, with his mother at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone. Our victim advocates are working with the family during this very difficult time for them. We charged Mr. Aranda with the most severe crime that the evidence allowed.” Bloomington police Chief Jeff Potts said during a news conference Saturday that Aranda was cooperative with detectives. The criminal complaint indicates that Aranda confessed to committing the brazen assault.  Read the criminal complaint against Emmanuel Aranda below. “This is a horrific situation,” Potts said. “The family and this child are in our thoughts and prayers. I know the family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers they can get on this case.” The Hoffman family issued a statement through Freeman’s office showing appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community but requesting privacy as Landen recovers from his life-threatening injuries.  Mall of America officials also praised the outpouring of support. “We are grateful for the efforts of all the first responders involved -- including guests and tenants -- for their immediate actions and the outpouring of concern shown by so many for this young child and his family,” a statement read. “For those who have left gifts, flowers and messages of love at the mall, we thank you. Please know we will keep these items safe and handle them according to the family’s wishes.” The criminal complaint says Aranda told police he had gone to the mall on April 11 intending to kill an adult, but that it did not “work out.” He returned to the mall the next day.  “He said he planned to kill an adult because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead,” the document reads.  Aranda told investigators he chose to kill out of frustration over years of rejection from the opposite sex.  “Defendant indicated he had been coming to the mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the mall, but had been rejected,” the complaint says. “The rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive.”  Aranda admitted he knew what he did was wrong. “Defendant acknowledged repeatedly in his interview that he had planned and intended to kill someone at the mall that day, and that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong,” the document says.  According to the criminal complaint, surveillance camera footage shows Aranda walking on the third floor of the mall and looking over the balcony several times before approaching Landen and his mother.  Landen’s mother told detectives she saw Aranda approach and stand very close to her and her son, the newspaper reported. She asked him if he needed them to move. “Without warning, defendant picked up the victim and threw him off the third floor balcony in front of (Landen’s mother) and several other witnesses, including children,” the complaint states.  Witnesses told the Minneapolis Star Tribune they heard screaming after the boy went over the railing. “Oh my God! Pray for my son!” Landen’s mother begged, witnesses told the newspaper.  Potts said Saturday that Aranda previously was arrested at the Mall of America. Officers were called there in July 2015 after Aranda was seen throwing an object from the third floor.  “When the officers tried to speak with him, he became … he was not cooperative,” Potts said.  Aranda was charged in that incident with obstruction, disorderly conduct and damage to property, the chief said.  Watch the update from Bloomington police Chief Jeff Potts below.  He was also accused of trespassing at the mall previously after he threw a glass of water in a woman’s face and destroyed property, the criminal complaint says. It was not clear if that was the same incident Potts spoke about during his news conference.  Aranda had been banned from the mall, but apparently ignored the ban.  Aranda next came in contact with Bloomington police officers at a local restaurant, where he refused to pay his bill, Potts said. In a third 2015 incident, Aranda was accused of throwing a glass at a worker at a different restaurant.  He was charged with fifth-degree assault, trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process in the third case. That was the last contact Bloomington officers had with Aranda prior to the alleged assault at the mall last week.  The Star Tribune reported that Aranda was also previously arrested for smashing computers at a public library in Minneapolis. At that time, he told arresting officers he has “anger issues,” the newspaper said.  Court records indicate Aranda has a string of arrests and convictions in Minnesota, as well as charges of assault and theft in Illinois, the Star Tribune reported. The criminal complaint indicates he had an outstanding warrant for assault in Illinois.  Judges have repeatedly ordered him to undergo mental health treatment, as well as to abstain from alcohol and drugs, the newspaper reported.  Prosecutors are taking Aranda’s latest Mall of America attack very seriously.  “The state intends to pursue an aggravated sentence based on particular cruelty to the victim, particular vulnerability of the victim and the commission of the act in the presence of other children and the victim’s mother,” the criminal complaint says.  The Mall of America website states that the facility “holds itself to the highest standards” when it comes to its security. It has 175 security officers on the payroll.  “We pride ourselves on our high caliber officers, training and forward-thinking attitude,” the webpage reads. “We take a holistic approach with our industry leading programs and practices which include bike patrol, K-9 units, special operations plain clothes officers, a state-of-the art dispatch center, parental escort policy, crisis planning and lockdown drills. “We are a unique property and we protect it as such.”
  • In a series of interviews Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood by her 2017 comments around the dismissal of FBI director James Comey despite telling special counsel Robert Mueller that her statements were made “’in the heat of the moment’” and “not founded on anything.” >> Read more trending news During a news conference after Comey’s abrupt firing in May 2017, Huckabee Sanders told reporters the White House had “heard from countless members of the FBI” who had lost confidence in Comey. However, Mueller’s team found, “The evidence does not support those claims,” according to the special counsel’s report. >> Mueller report: Key findings from the investigation “Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue,’” investigators said in the Mueller report, which was redacted and released Thursday by U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Huckabee Sanders disputed the special counsel’s interpretation of her comments in an interview Friday with “CBS This Morning,” telling morning show anchors that she only meant to say the word “countless” was a slip of the tongue. >> Mueller investigation: Read the report “The big takeaway here is that the sentiment is 100 percent accurate,” Huckabee Sanders said. “The FBI is a better place without James Comey.” In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Huckabee Sanders insisted “there were a number of FBI, both former (and) current), that agreed with the president’s decision.” >> Mueller investigation: House committee subpoenas full report “I said that the word I used, countless … If you look (at) what’s in quotations from me, it’s that and it was ‘in the heat of the moment,’ meaning that it wasn’t a scripted talking point,” she said. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t a robot like the Democratic Party.” Despite her insistence that her comments about FBI support for Comey’s dismissal were “in the heat of the moment,” Politico noted she told reporters similar things on at least one other occasion, one day after making her initial comment about “countless members of the FBI.” “I can speak to my own personal experience,” she said in 2017, according to Politico. “I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision.”

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