Sanders defends her Comey lie as ‘slip of the tongue.’ Then she lies again.
Sanders defends her Comey lie as a ‘slip of the tongue,’ then lies again After special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed she had lied about the reaction to FBI Director James Comey’s firing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders went on a Friday-morning media blitz attempting to reestablish her credibility. It resulted in her telling more lies.“Look, I’ve acknowledged the word ‘countless’ was a slip of the tongue, but it’s no secret that a number of FBI agents, both current and former, agreed with the president’s decision,” said Sanders when asked what she meant by CBS News. Sanders then said that Mueller had misinterpreted her words in the report, adding, “What I said was that it was the in the heat of the moment. I said it was in the heat of the moment, meaning it wasn’t a scripted thing, it was something that I said, which is why that one word has become a big deal.”Sanders’s issues stem from comments she made as a deputy press secretary in May 2017 following the firing of Comey about feedback she had received from FBI agents celebrating the decision.“Well, I can speak from my own personal experiences,” said Sanders. “I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision.”In the redacted version of the Mueller report released Thursday, it read that “Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything.”Sanders attempted to downplay her comments in a series of interviews Friday morning, using most of her time to continue slamming Comey but offering a tenuous representation of her comments.Sanders’s “countless” comment was made on May 10, when a reporter questioned her assertion that „the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director,” quoting an FBI special agent who said „the vast majority of the bureau is in favor of Director Comey.” Sanders said „Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.”On the following day, Sanders repeated this assertion — which she later acknowledged to Mueller’s office was baseless — even when given the opportunity to walk it back.”I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision,” said Sanders. “And I think that we may have to agree to disagree. I’m sure that there are some people that are disappointed, but I certainly heard from a large number of individuals — and that’s just myself — and I don’t even know that many people in the FBI.””You said now today, and I think you said again yesterday, that you personally have talked to countless FBI officials employees since this happened,” asked Michael Shear of the New York Times.“Correct,” replied Sanders. “Between email, text messages, absolutely.””I mean, really?” replied Shear, asking for a number. „50? 60? 70?””Look, we’re not going to get into a numbers game,” Sanders said. „I have heard from a large number of individuals who work at the FBI who said they’re very happy with the president’s decision.”When presented with that clip on ABC News, Sanders continued to focus on the word “countless,” repeating that her comments were in the heat of the moment.Sanders has previously misled the press during her tenure, which started in July 2017 after Sean Spicer stepped down from the position. Spicer was also criticized for his failure to deliver accurate information.Comedian Michelle Wolf mocked Sanders’s difficulties with the truth during last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”I actually really like Sarah,” said Wolf. “I think she’s very resourceful. Like she burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”Wolf faced criticism for her jokes, which addressed Sanders’s appearance, as well her performance. The White House Correspondents’ Association opted to defend Sanders and denounce Wolf, writing that Wolf’s performance was “not in the spirit” of the group’s mission. Wolf shrugged off the complaints, tweeting, “Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials.”Sanders has essentially stopped holding briefs, with only two so far in 2019.
“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., where he is spending Easter weekend.Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed,” the president said. “Because I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bulls*** & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad). This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened, a…”THE MUELLER REPORT IN DEPTH: YAHOO NEWS BREAKS DOWN ALL 448 PAGES Trump went golfing with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and “a couple friends,” and he did not finish his thought until more than eight hours later.He continued: “….big, fat, waste of time, energy and money – $30,000,000 to be exact. It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason. This should never happen again!”In a redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report released Thursday morning, the special counsel concluded there was no evidence that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also declined to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, despite amassing considerable evidence that the president had attempted to shut down the special counsel investigation.President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House earlier this month. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The report depicted a chaotic environment in the White House in which aides scrambled to avoid carrying out orders by Trump that were potentially illegal or self-destructive, and where his press office lied to cover for him.In all, Mueller and his team cited 10 episodes of potential obstruction.Former White House counsel Don McGahn told investigators that Trump asked him twice to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Fearing that such a firing would trigger another “Saturday Night Massacre,” like the one carried out by President Richard Nixon in 1973, McGahn decided to quit, telling then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus that the president had asked him to “do crazy s***.”According to the report, McGahn took extensive notes of his conversations with the president, which apparently irked Trump.White House counsel Don McGahn looks on as President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting last October. (Photo: Evan Vucci/APWhy do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes,” Trump once told McGahn, according to the report. “I never had a lawyer who took notes. I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He never took notes.” Cohn, a notorious political fixer, was Trump’s mentor and personal lawyer early in Trump’s real estate career.McGahn, though, wasn’t the only note taker featured in the Mueller report.Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff, Jody Hunt, took notes of his conversation with Trump after the president learned that Mueller had been appointed as special counsel.“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency,” Trump exclaimed, according to Hunt’s notes cited in Mueller’s report. “I’m f***ed.”The report depicted a chaotic environment in the White House in which aides scrambled to avoid carrying out orders by Trump that were potentially illegal or self-destructive, and where his press office lied to cover for him.In all, Mueller and his team cited 10 episodes of potential obstruction.Former White House counsel Don McGahn told investigators that Trump asked him twice to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Fearing that such a firing would trigger another “Saturday Night Massacre,” like the one carried out by President Richard Nixon in 1973, McGahn decided to quit, telling then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus that the president had asked him to “do crazy s***.”According to the report, McGahn took extensive notes of his conversations with the president, which apparently irked Trump.“Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes,” Trump once told McGahn, according to the report. “I never had a lawyer who took notes. I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He never took notes.” Cohn, a notorious political fixer, was Trump’s mentor and personal lawyer early in Trump’s real estate career.McGahn, though, wasn’t the only note taker featured in the Mueller report.Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff, Jody Hunt, took notes of his conversation with Trump after the president learned that Mueller had been appointed as special counsel.“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency,” Trump exclaimed, according to Hunt’s notes cited in Mueller’s report. “I’m f***ed.”
Trump’s ‘total and complete exoneration’ turns out to be fake newsDavid Knowles
“The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, or the counselor for the president,” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace noted of Barr, and that was before the release of the redacted report, which you can read here.In a Thursday interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” an actual former Trump lawyer, Ty Cobb, reiterated Barr’s explanation for the behavior described in the Mueller report.“The president was assaulted every day by virtually every newspaper of liberal persuasion and most of the mainstream media and fighting for his political life throughout this and frustrated by his inability to govern,” Cobb said. “The fact that he defended himself is not obstruction.”Cobb’s mention of Trump’s frustration over “his inability to govern” seems at odds with Trump’s own assessment of his presidency, which he claimed just last month “has accomplished more in its first two years than any other Administration.”Frustration and anger are nothing new for Trump. His White House tenure has been defined by those emotions, as his own Twitter feed shows. But it’s worth revisiting Trump’s brief pause in his attacks on Mueller in the days following the release of Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s findings to Congress on March 24.It’s not known if Trump has read the Mueller report yet, or strayed from the Fox News bubble that is doing its best to assure him that “total and complete exoneration” is still the order of the day. Insider accounts of the Trump White House generally agree that the president prefers to get his information from television or single-page bullet-pointed memos, not 400-page reports. Those who do read it will confront several uncomfortable passages that contradict the statements and tweets made by Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Ivanka Trump and others.When Trump does return to finish his thought on Twitter, it will most likely be to continue his attacks on the people who have spent the last two years investigating him, and whose report overturns many of Trump’s well-worn assertions. Among them is Trump’s claim that the investigation into his campaign started with the Steele dossier that was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In fact, as Mueller’s team laid out on the first page, the origins of the case that would lead to the appointment of a special counsel began elsewhere.“In late July 2016, soon after WikiLeaks’s first release of stolen documents, a foreign government contacted the FBI about a May 2016 encounter with the Trump Campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulous. Papadopoulos had suggested to a a representative of that foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” the report states. “The information prompted the FBI on July 31, 2016, to open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump Campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.”While the media reported this detail back in 2017, because Trump has convinced his supporters that every negative news item about him is fake, its confirmation by Mueller seems to have prompted him to return to his efforts to discredit the same special counsel who has supposedly vindicated him.Nine hours after the president left the nation hanging as to how he would conclude his sentence on the “Illegally Started Hoax,” he returned to Twitter and called, once again, for an investigation of the people who had investigated him.
World Kosovo returns families of jihadists from Syria•PRISTINA AIRPORT, Kosovo (Reuters) – An airplane has returned women and children who are relatives to Kosovo jihadists in Syria to Kosovo early on Saturday, the country’s justice minister said.Anti-terror police officers guarded the cargo building at the Pristina airport and an airplane with a U.S. flag on its tail was seen at the airport.“The planned operation for the return of some of our citizens from Syria has ended successfully,” Justice Minister Abelrad Tahiri said at the airport early on Saturday. He added that all the details will be given in a press conference during the day.More than 300 Kosovo citizens, men, women and children traveled to Syria after 2012. Some 70 men who fought alongside extremists militant groups were killed.Police said some 150 women and children, including around 60 children that were born in war zones, were captured as the Islamic State lost ground.It remained unclear if all of them were returned on Friday.The minister nor the police gave any details if any combatants were also returned.(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
Chuck Norris slammed for becoming the face of Glock: ‘So sad to see you’re just a sponsor now’Suzy Byrne Editor, Yahoo Entertainment•Chuck Norris is the new face of Glock, but not everyone is happy about it Chuck Norris becoming the new face of Glock seems on-brand for the gun company, but that doesn’t mean everybody likes it.There are no shortage of Second Amendment supporters giving a thumbs-up to the Walker, Texas Ranger alum’s new gig (save a few who see the late R. Lee „The Gunny” Ermey as irreplaceable or wish Norris was repping an American company) — and there are so many new memes born out of this new hire (“I heard you sleep with a Glock on your nightstand so the Glock doesn’t get scared”).But others are questioning whether it’s a winning combination in light of the growing number of mass shootings in the United States — and calls for stricter gun control laws.“Chuck shouldn’t be working with gun companies at a time like this,” wrote a commenter, who — like Norris — is a martial artist. “He should be advocating ways to keep his gun loving friends from possible becoming surprising random mental health people that use guns to kill others and children. Please tell me Chuck, that you do something like that for the kids at least and aren’t all about the money. I mean no wonder Bruce Lee died….he wasn’t like all these a holes, just about the [money].”
The woman, 43, is suffering from the measles-related complication of encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, according to Eyal Basson, a spokesman for Israel’s Health Ministry.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the condition affects 1 out of every 1,000 people who get the measles virus, but is more common in children younger than five and adults older than 20.
It can cause permanent brain damage, deafness or death.
Israeli health officials warned people who were on board El Al flight 002 – which left John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City on 26 March and landed in Israel a day later – to seek medical care if they developed a fever, often the first sign of the highly contagious disease.
Symptoms, which may also include a runny nose, cough, bloodshot eyes, sensitivity to light and a dark red rash, usually appear from 10 to 14 days after exposure to measles, with a possible range of 6 to 21 days.
Measles is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world.
Unlike influenza pathogens, which spread when a person sneezes or coughs but then fall, the measles virus remains suspended in air, “like really light dust particles”, allowing the pathogens to linger and float for up to two hours, said Dr Martin Cetron, director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC.
Influenza is spread by an exponent of two, meaning each person who gets it is likely to infect two others in a setting where people haven’t been immunised, he said.
Measles is likely to be spread to between nine and 19 people who are not immunised, depending on the setting and the herd immunity of those nearby, he said.
Israeli health officials sent a letter to the country’s airlines recommending that all staff be immunised with two doses of the vaccine against measles.
“The airlines have initiated implementation of the recommendation,” it said. El Al airlines said only that it operates in accordance with directives of the Health Ministry and declined further comment.
Taylor Garland, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, said: “Our hearts are with our El Al sister who is battling this disease and our thoughts are with her for a full recovery.
„Her suffering should give the public and crew urgency to heed the recommendations of health officials.”
From 1 January to 1 April, 555 cases of measles were confirmed in the United States.
This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was declared eliminated in 2000, the CDC reported. In 2014, 667 cases were reported.
The CDC recommends that all people who are able to receive two doses of MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.
Infants who are travelling internationally should get their first dose at six months to 11 months of age.
All children should be vaccinated at 12 to 15 months of age, and again from four to six years. Teens and adults also should also be up-to-date with their vaccinations.
The vaccination status of the El Al flight attendant couldn’t be confirmed because of her hospitalisation, but her mother said she’d received all the recommended vaccinations, according to Basson.
Between 1971 and 1977, however, the recommendation in Israel was for only one vaccination against measles. The current recommendation for adults, including travellers abroad, is for two doses.
There have been two fatalities in Israel from the measles in the past six months, the first deaths from the disease in 15 years.
According to news reports there have been 3,600 cases of the measles in Israel in the past year, primarily among the ultra-Orthodox.
The International Air Transport Association, the trade association for the world’s airlines, said it does not track which airlines might require vaccinations against measles, but most countries have laws forbidding employers from insisting that employees receive immunisations.
An employee of Cathay Pacific flew on nine flights while potentially contagious with measles between 8-16 March to cities that included Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok, the Hong Kong Department of Health reported.
The Health Department said the employee, a 41-year-old man, was hospitalised in a stable condition. Hong Kong news reports said he was a pilot.
Cathay Pacific didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
New York Times
* Putin ally makes pitch to probable next president
* Calls for restoration of economic ties with Moscow
* Says Kiev could regain lost territory „within months” (Edits headline)
By Andrew Osborn
KIEV, April 19 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s new president could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he repairs ties with Moscow, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine said.
Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent figure in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning opposition, outlined the prospect in an interview before a presidential election runoff in Ukraine on Sunday which polls show political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy should easily win.
He said the Kremlin was keen to know more about Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old Russian-speaking TV comedian who has no political experience, to understand if he is someone it could do a deal with, something it failed to do with incumbent Petro Poroshenko who polls show will be soundly defeated by Zelenskiy.
„They don’t have any expectations in Moscow,” he said. „They want to see what happens afterwards, who will be in his (Zelenskiy’s) entourage, and what he will do and with whom.”
A Ukrainian citizen, Medvedchuk does not represent Russia, but his words carry weight due to his close friendship with President Vladimir Putin and track record as a go-between between the two nations.
Medvedchuk said he had known Putin for 19 years, that the Russian leader is godfather to his daughter, and that he had held talks with Putin in Moscow as recently as two weeks ago.
The Kremlin has made clear it will be glad to see the back of Poroshenko but has not commented on Zelenskiy, saying only that it is watching candidates’ statements closely and hopes any new president can implement a peace deal on Donbass, eastern Ukraine, which has been under separatist control since 2014.
When asked about Medvedchuk’s advice for Ukraine’s new president on Friday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, said he greatly respected Medvedchuk, calling him „very active” and „important” when it came to his humanitarian work as an intermediary between Moscow and Kiev.
Peskov, who confirmed Medvedchuk’s recent meeting with Putin, said Ukraine didn’t need to strike a specific deal with Putin or Moscow, but did need take steps to build mutually beneficial relations with Russia.
When asked what expectations the Kremlin had of Zelenskiy, Peskov said: „We would always like to hope for the best. Of course we want to hope that the person who is elected Ukraine’s president will not be from the party of war. And we want to hope that this person will take a different perspective on relations between Ukraine and Russia.”
TESTING THE WATERS
Medvedchuk, who said he had only met Zelenskiy once „eight or nine years ago” and had no contacts with him, appears to be testing the waters on Moscow’s behalf.
Medvedchuk has brokered prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine and held talks in Moscow last month with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about gas prices.
At that meeting, he said he and an ally secured a pledge of a 25 percent discount for Russian gas if Kiev agreed to resume direct gas purchases from energy giant Gazprom instead of via European countries as it has done since the end of 2015.
Russia’s main focus is returning separatist-held Donbass to Kiev on its own terms. This could help Moscow win some relief from sanctions imposed by the European Union over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing for the pro-Russian Donbass uprising.
Poroshenko, Ukrainian president for the last five years, balked at what he saw as the unfavorable terms of the so far unimplemented Minsk peace deal agreed at a 2015 summit with Russia, France and Germany. That called for Donbass to be given a special status and for an amnesty for separatist fighters among other things.
So far, Zelenskiy has said he wants peace in the east and to breathe new life into stalled talks. But he has also said he does not want to implement parts of the Minsk deal either, that Putin should be regarded as „an enemy,” and that an information war may be needed to try to win the hearts and minds of people living in Donbass.
For now, said Medvedchuk, Zelenskiy was on the wrong policy track. But he said there was hope he might alter his stance once elected.
„Maybe he’ll come round to the idea that for the sake of peace you need to do this,” said Medvedchuk. „Nobody is talking about having to make concessions or give something back. We’re talking about the need to return people and territory.”
Putin might be willing to release 24 captured Ukrainian sailors as a goodwill gesture, Medvedchuk said, adding that billions of dollars of Russian money would flow into Ukraine’s economy if economic ties between the two neighbors, which have been disrupted by sanctions, were restored.
„We’re not saying that we have to kiss or hug each other again. We’re talking about restoring pragmatic economic relations,” he said, adding that Ukraine had lost $20 billion a year in exports to Russia because of Kiev turning its back on Moscow after Russia’s actions in 2014.
NEED TO TALK
Medvedchuk’s pitch to patch up ties with Moscow is unpalatable for many Ukrainians who view Russia as a strategic enemy, particularly in the Ukrainian-speaking west of the country.
But it has support in the Russian-speaking south-east and is designed to appeal to those weary of a 5-year-old war estimated by the United Nations to have killed over 13,000 people.
If pro-Russian separatists handed Donbass back to Ukrainian government control, some EU countries have suggested they would be ready to lift sanctions on Russia, though other countries only favor sanctions relief if Moscow returns Crimea as well.
An agreement on how to implement a peace deal over eastern Ukraine could be reached „within several months” and implemented on the ground within „six to eight months,” said Medvedchuk, saying any talks on the matter should be between Kiev, Moscow and the two pro-Russian separatist breakaway territories.
„We could do it all within a few months. We need to sit down and talk. It (the detail in the Minsk accord) has already been spelt out. We just need to determine the order of doing things.”
Medvedchuk said he would advise Zelenskiy on the subject if asked and that his party, „Opposition Platform – For Life,” which is second in the polls, — would potentially be ready to cooperate with Zelenskiy in parliament after elections in October on a case-by-case basis.
Zelenskiy has indicated he would not want to form a coalition with Medvedchuk’s party and has not said if he would be ready to work together on an ad hoc basis.
Cold economic logic now dictated the need for a rapprochement with Moscow, said Medvedchuk.
„If we don’t do it and continue with this anti-Russian policy and hysteria our economic life will deteriorate further.” (Additional reporting by Tom Balmforth in Moscow Editing by Philippa Fletcher/Matthias Williams)
Supporters of Peru’s former President Alan Garcia arrive for the wake, after Garcia fatally shot himself on Wednesday, in Lima
By Marco Aquino
LIMA (Reuters) – Thousand of Peruvians said goodbye on Thursday in Lima to ex-president Alan Garcia — who killed himself this week – in the second of three days of national mourning declared by President Martin Vizcarra.
Garcia shot himself in the head on Wednesday to avoid arrest in connection with alleged bribes from Brazilian builder Odebrecht, in the most dramatic turn yet in Latin America’s largest graft scandal.
Friends, allies and leaders across the political spectrum paid homage to Garcia at the headquarters of his APRA party, one of Latin America’s oldest political parties, and one which twice helped usher Garcia to the presidency.
Vizcarra ordered flags to be flown at half mast at the country’s Congress and other public buildings to honor the ex-President and former lawmaker.
Despite that, some of Garcia’s most tenacious allies cried out „Vizcarra is a murderer,” at the wake, a nod to Garcia’s recent critique that his prosecution was politically motivated.
A pugnacious politician considered one of Latin America’s best orators, Garcia had long been dogged by graft allegations that he brushed off as baseless political smears.
But prosecutors investigating Brazilian builder Odebrecht gathered enough evidence to secure a judicial order this week to hold Garcia in pre-trial detention while they prepared charges against him, prompting the ex-president’s suicide.
The investigation in Peru had picked up speed in recent months, with a judge ordering another former president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, to jail before trial in connection with the company last week.
The scandal had already touched the highest levels of Peru’s ruling political class.
Ex-President Alejandro Toledo is fighting extradition from the United States after a Peruvian judge ordered him jailed in 2017, while another former leader, Ollanta Humala, spent nine months in pre-trial detention before he was released last year on appeal.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Alistair Bell)
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado community changed forever by the attack that killed 13 people at Columbine High School moved ahead Thursday with ceremonies marking the anniversary of the tragedy while awaiting more details on what led a Florida teen „infatuated” with the shooting to buy a shotgun and kill herself in the snowy foothills nearby.
Many questions remained unanswered about 18-year-old Sol Pais, but a friend disputed the contention by authorities that she posed a threat.
Adrianna Pete painted a complex picture of Pais, saying she was deeply troubled, lonely and often talked about suicide but was also brilliant, kind and a talented artist who loved to draw.
Pete, 19, a college student in Carleton, Michigan, said she met Pais online two years ago through a mutual friend and quickly developed a friendship involving near-daily communication. They met in person twice, once when Pete traveled to Florida and once when Pais went to Michigan.
Pete faulted authorities for overreacting in portraying Pais as a threat based on her activities before her death.
„She never threatened anyone,” Pete said. „There are no credible threats and only assumptions that she was just because the word Columbine was included.”
Pete said Pais had a weird obsession with the Columbine killers but that didn’t mean she was planning an attack. The killers were „someone she could relate to” because they were lonely, not because of their violence, Pete said.
„She would say I hate life, life sucks and that she was very alone,” Pete said. „Then she told me she had it figured out with her parents before so I assumed like she was doing OK … She actually posted about it a lot, wanting to die.”
Two teenagers attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives. They have inspired cult-like admirers, some of whom committed other mass shootings.
The days surrounding the April 20 anniversary of the attack are always emotional for school alumni, their families and the suburban community of Littleton surrounding Columbine. Some survivors describe the experience as an „April fog.”
The manhunt for Pais and the resulting closure of schools added a new layer of anxiety, former Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis said Wednesday after the FBI declared the danger was over.
A religious service Thursday night will begin three days of commemorative events themed „Remember. Reflect. Recommit” leading to a day of community service projects and a ceremony Saturday at a park near the school.
Pais’ body was discovered Wednesday in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Colorado authorities learned about Pais on Tuesday from an alarmed Miami FBI office that had interviewed people about her obsession with the Columbine shooting.
Dozens of schools, including Columbine, locked their doors for several hours on Tuesday and even more closed altogether on Wednesday.
More than 400,000 students returned to Denver-area schools Thursday, with visible police presence outside buildings.
FBI officials declined Wednesday to discuss Pais’ mental health or detail the comments she made indicating an „infatuation” with the Columbine shooting. An FBI spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request Thursday for more information on Pais’ background or her Columbine-related comments that sparked a rapid law enforcement response.
Officials at her Florida school district said they had no record of Pais being contacted by law enforcement or disciplined in school.
Her family has not spoken publicly but worked with authorities this week.
Pete described Pais as caring and thoughtful, someone who helped with her Spanish homework and sent her a pair of earrings when she was having boyfriend troubles.
When they got together in Miami last summer, they went swimming at the beach, walked the boardwalk and played with stray cats. Almost daily, Pais walked to a store and bought a coffee energy drink. She was obsessed with them, Pete said.
„I believe she was just very mentally ill and had no one but me to confide in and a few people on the internet,” Pete said.
FBI officials said Wednesday they were reviewing all of Pais’ activity in recent weeks, including her social media accounts and other online writing. They confirmed that online material includes a blog featuring hand-written journal entries about the author’s unhappiness and desire to die along with sketches of guns or knives.
Pais did not make threats against a specific school but her history and purchase of a weapon immediately after arriving in Colorado merited a broad response, officials said.
Pais arrived Monday and went directly to a gun store, where she bought a shotgun, authorities said. The purchase apparently followed the legal process, officials said.
Kennedy reported from Miami. Associated Press writers Ellis Rua in Miami Beach, Florida, and James Anderson, P. Solomon Banda, Colleen Slevin and Thomas Peipert in Denver contributed to this report.