US on alert as bombs target Dems, CNN
Pipe bombs packed with shards of glass were intercepted en route to several prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, in an unnerving wave that deepened political tensions and fears two weeks before national midterm elections.
None of the seven bombs detonated and nobody was hurt as authorities in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida and California seized the suspicious packages.
One of the explosives was sent to CNN, which prompted the evacuation of the Time Warner Center in Manhattan where the news outlet has its offices.
The targets of the bombs were some of the figures most frequently criticized by President Donald Trump, who still assails Clinton at rallies while supporters chant “lock her up” – two years after he defeated her and she largely left the political scene. Trump also often singles out cable news network CNN as he rails against the “fake news” media.
Trump took a softer tone at a rally in Wisconsin Wednesday night.
“Let’s get along,” he said. “By the way, do you see how nice I’m behaving tonight? Have you ever seen this?”
The attacks overtook other news in an already-tense political season that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The actions, which caused panicked building evacuations and reports of additional explosives that later proved unfounded, are bound to add to fears that overheated rhetoric could lead to deadly violence as the parties engage in bitter fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and the treatment of women.
The bombs, each with a small battery, were about six inches long and packed with powder and broken glass, said a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.
The first crude bomb to be discovered had been delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes.
The FBI said an additional package was intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder, but that one ended up at a Florida office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it.
Later Wednesday, the FBI said two additional packages addressed for Rep. Maxine Waters had been intercepted that were similar in appearance to five others.
The White House condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and other perceived foes of the administration.
“Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,” Trump said. “This egregious conduct is abhorrent.”
Law enforcement officials said all the packages were similar: manila envelopes with bubble-wrap interior bearing six stamps and the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party’s eventual presidential nominee.
The package intended for Holder had the wrong address and was forwarded to Wasserman Schultz.
The devices all were sent to an FBI lab in Virginia to be studied. Officials provided no details on a possible suspect or motive.