Mailbomb blitz: Packages sent to Obama, Soros, CNN, Clintons & others
In the last 48 hours, explosive devices have been sent to the homes and offices of numerous high-profile Democratic political figures, as well as CNN’s New York office.
The seemingly ever-growing list of targets includes former President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, top Democratic donor George Soros, former DCCC chief and Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and CNN’s New York offices.
Speaking at an NYPD press conference, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said that the events of the day were “clearly an act of terror” an "effort to terrorize leaders of this country through acts of violence". De Blasio said New Yorkers could “rest assured” that the NYPD are “out in force” to protect the city. He also blamed an “atmosphere of hate” taking over in the run up to the midterm elections.
Here’s what we know so far about the mailbomb blitz.
Soros mailbox bomb
On Tuesday, police said they destroyed a suspected explosive device found at the New York residence of Hungarian-American billionaire and major liberal donor George Soros. A team was sent to the residence after an employee of Soros opened the package at around 3:45 pm on Monday and found a device which looked like a pipe bomb, but police said that there was no threat to public safety.
Soros is a major Trump critic and donor to the Democratic party. While he has accused Trump of aiming to build a “mafia state” in the US, Trump has returned fire, accusing him of fuelling public unrest in the US, including protests against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
I am truly grateful for the support of all who have reached out to inquire about the safety of my family after the attempted bomb attack. Here’s my op-ed in the @NYtimes about the incident and what is happening to politics in America today. https://t.co/9VALGi85yS— Alexander Soros, PhD (@AlexanderSoros) October 24, 2018
In a New York Times op-ed, Soros’ son Alexander blamed Trump and the "politics of demonizing opponents" for the bomb packages. Alexander Soros wrote that the incidents were a threat “to the future of American democracy.”
Obama and Clinton residences
News broke on Wednesday morning of potential explosive devices sent to the residence of former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York — and to the home of former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
The Secret Service confirmed that the packages were intercepted and "immediately identified" during routine mail screening procedures and said the the Clintons and Obamas were never at risk of receiving them.
CNN mailroom device
Later on Wednesday, CNN’s newsroom in New York’s Time Warner Center was evacuated after a suspicious package containing a pipe bomb was found in the mailroom. Around the same time, conflicting reports emerged of devices being sent to the White House, but those were not confirmed. Video posted to Twitter showed evacuation alarms sounding behind CNN hosts on air.
Time Warner Center – where CNN's New York offices are located – was just evacuated. The alarm went off as @jimsciutto and @PoppyHarlowCNN were on air reporting the packages sent to the Clintons and Obamas. @ShimonPro reporting it was over "a suspicious package." pic.twitter.com/EYBsytil0o— 💀andrew👻kaczynski🎃 (@KFILE) October 24, 2018
CNN reported that the device was made with pipes and wires. The NYPD later confirmed that "an envelope containing white powder" was also sent with the pipe bomb. It also said that the device had been addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, care of CNN, with a return address of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office. Wasserman’s office also received a suspicious device later in the day.
The device sent to CNN was removed and placed in a bomb containment unit.
Police told NBC that all four devices sent to Obama, Soros, the Clintons and CNN are "nearly identical."
CNN president Jeff Zucker has lashed out at the White House, denouncing President Trump's "continued attacks on the media."
Statement from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker: pic.twitter.com/OXyIT6oSLT— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) October 24, 2018
Police on Wednesday also confirmed that they were investigating another possible suspicious package sent to the Sunrise, Florida office of Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Footage online showed a bomb squad unit and firefighters arriving at the building, but it has not yet been confirmed that any viable device was found.
Breaking -- The Sunrise, Florida, office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been evacuated after a suspicious package was found mailed there this morning, according to a spokesman for the police department. Are is secured and the bomb squad is on site.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 24, 2018
Kamala Harris and San Diego Tribune ‘false alarm’
In the midst of the unfolding drama, the building which houses the office of Democratic Congresswoman Kamala Harris and the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper was also evacuated over the discovery of what was initially believed to be a suspicious package, but which turned out to be abandoned property.
From a San Diego Union Tribune reporter evacuated from the building after suspicious device found https://t.co/dwyCRRYLI5— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) October 24, 2018
UPDATE: San Diego police say the bomb scare at the Union-Tribune newspaper building was a false alarm. The packages were abandoned property.— NPR (@NPR) October 24, 2018
Andrew Cuomo office
In the latest reported scare, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that a suspicious device was also sent to his office in Manhattan and was "being handled” by the NYPD, but it was later confirmed that the package was not a bomb and was unrelated to the other incidents.
Capitol Police have also confirmed another suspicious device was intercepted at the Congressional Mail facility in Maryland, saying that it was addressed to Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence condemned the sending of the devices as “despicable” acts and said that the “cowards” responsible would be found.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said a "major federal investigation" into the incidents was underway. He said the country had to "unify" and "come together" and condemned acts and threats of political violence, saying they had "no place" in the US.
“This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans,” he said, adding: "We’re extremely angry, upset, and unhappy about what we witnessed this morning.”
I agree wholeheartedly! https://t.co/ndzu0A30vU— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2018
Statement on suspicious packages: pic.twitter.com/pYSbDvCvuk— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 24, 2018
Online, speculation abounds as some pundits have been quick to pin the blame on President Trump, citing the fact that so far, all recipients of the potential explosive devices have been highly critical of his administration. Others have suggested the bomb-planting spree has been some kind of false flag intended to benefit Democrats in the upcoming November midterm elections.
.@realDonaldTrump with every fiber of your rotten being you‘ve incited & condoned hate. Never in 643 days have you discouraged people from unleashing the violence inside them. Your very existence requires anger & fear. You need it like normal people need oxygen.This is on you.— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) October 24, 2018
Let's be clear about what is happening.Someone just tried to assassinate five of Donald Trump's perceived political enemies:Hillary ClintonBarack ObamaFormer CIA Director John BrennanDebbie Wasserman Schultz George Soros— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) October 24, 2018
These "Suspicious Package" stories are false flags, carefully planned for the midterms— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) October 24, 2018
Michael Solomon, the former NYPD special investigator on the phone on CBS right now, just floated the theory that these bomb threats might be a false flag to distract the media from the Caravan two weeks before the midterms.— Only using this platform for BOO-ms (@DavidKlion) October 24, 2018
Just asking questions folks...Why would a conservative pull off planting these bombs at this exact time and specific to the Clintons, Obama’s, and CNN HQ?Either way and no matter your political affiliation, political violence of any kind doesn’t do this country ANY good.— Michael Flynn Jr⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@mflynnJR) October 24, 2018