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Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz boasted of mass murder plans in cell phone videos

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The teen charged with shooting 17 people dead at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, boasted of plans to commit mass murder in a series of cell phone videos recorded by him before the rampage and released on Wednesday by prosecutors.

In one of the three video clips, Nikolas Cruz, 19, calmly declares, “Hello. My name is Nik and I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018.” He goes on to say: “My goal is to kill at least 20 people with an AR-15,” referring to the assault-style rifle he is seen holding in the footage.

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Brandishing the rifle at another point, Cruz says: “You’re all going to die,” adding with a chuckle, “Can’t wait.”

The video clips were part of an inventory of prosecution evidence recently shared with the defense team during the pre-trial discovery process, said Constance Jones-Simmons, a spokeswoman for the Broward County state attorney’s office.

The Miami Herald and other media outlets obtained copies through a public records request after seeing mention of the footage in court documents, she told Reuters.

The three videos, none longer than 90 seconds in duration, are believed to have been made a short time before the shooting rampage on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but Jones-Simmons said she did not know precisely when they were recorded.

Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student expelled for disciplinary problems, has been described by former classmates as a social misfit and trouble-maker who was fascinated with guns. Police have said they responded to numerous calls related to the teenager in the years leading up to the massacre.

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But authorities, who say Cruz confessed to the killings after his arrest, have never offered a possible motive for the bloodshed. Release of the video “selfies,” posted online by the Herald, shed little new light on that question except to suggest Cruz felt he was treated as an outcast.

In one video, Cruz said his former classmates thought he was “an idiot and a dumb ass.” He also professed his love for a girl he mentioned only by first name, and said he hoped to see her in the “afterlife.”

The gun seen in the video is apparently the rifle authorities say Cruz legally purchased from a licensed gun dealer last year and ultimately used as the murder weapon.

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He is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder stemming from the Parkland killings, which rank as the second-greatest loss of life from gun violence at a public school in modern U.S. history, after a 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 first-graders and six adult educators dead.

The Florida shooting triggered an extraordinary protest movement and lobbying campaign for tougher gun control restrictions led by student survivors of the Parkland massacre and parents of the victims.

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Cruz, whose own lawyer had called him a “broken human being” who feels remorse for his crimes, is being held in the Broward County jail without bond in Fort Lauderdale, and is on suicide watch, officials said.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Michael Perry

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GOP senator refuses to answer questions on impeachment witnesses when reporter corners him in airport

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Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) this week refused to directly answer questions about witnesses at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after getting cornered at an airport by a local reporter.

Steve Staeger, a reporter with Colorado-based news station 9News, confronted Gardner at Dulles International Airport on Thursday night and asked him about whether he'd be open to allowing new witnesses at Trump's Senate trial, which is due to start this coming Tuesday.

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Watch: Reince Priebus reveals Trump’s impeachment defense will be ‘so what?’

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Fired former Trump White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has revealed what the president's main impeachment defense will be starting next week when he is tried for the high crimes and misdemeanors of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"So what?"

That's literally going to be the summation of all the allegations against a sitting president of the United States of America, the supposed leader of the free world.

“Sometimes the best defense is the ‘so what?’ defense. If everything the Democrats said is true, it’s still not impeachable. If everything Lev Parnas said is true, it’s still not impeachable. That’s what this is about,” Priebus, who Trump fired in 2017, told Fox News' Sean Hannity Thursday night.

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Did Trump know Robert Hyde was stalking Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch?

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Robert Hyde is a businessman and former marine who's running against Democrat Jahana Hayes for the 5th Congressional seat in Connecticut. He’s the newest entry into the dramatis personae of the Trump-Ukraine saga. Text messages released by the House suggest Hyde was stalking Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

Lev Parnas, who turned over the messages, says he never took Hyde seriously. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Parnas maligned Hyde’s character, saying he never saw him when he was not drunk. Parnas is one of Rudy Giuliani’s goons. In one way or another, he has been at the center of the president’s conspiracy to smear Joe Biden and rewrite the history of 2016 so that Ukraine, not Russia, is the enemy. Parnas is now under indictment for violating campaign-finance laws. He’s coming forward with what he knows about Donald Trump in an apparent bid for leniency.

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