Bombs and other suspicious packages targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and CNN were intercepted Wednesday in a rash of attacks aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticized by political conservatives.
A similar device was found on Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.
There were no explosions and no reports of injuries.
The White House quickly condemned the attacks. Vice President Mike Pence said they “have no place in this country,” and President Donald Trump tweeted, “I agree wholeheartedly.”
The US Secret Service intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton at her Chappaqua, New York, home and a possible explosive that was sent to former President Obama in his home in Washington. And a police bomb squad removed a suspicious package from CNN’s New York headquarters, which was evacuated.
Overhead TV shots showed a truck carrying that device, which law enforcement officials said was linked to other explosives this week, being driven away.
A US official told The Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons’ home was linked to one found Monday at the Soros compound.
The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said one of the packages had the return address of Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, an ironic reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party’s eventual president nominee.
Neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures, the Secret Service said in a statement.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Two law enforcement officials, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the pipe bomb at CNN was crude but operational and was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who regularly appears as a television contributor and who has publicly clashed with Trump. They said it was similar to other explosives discovered in the past few days.
Hillary Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and was not at the family’s New York residence at the time. Bill Clinton was at the family’s Chappaqua home at the time the package was intercepted at a Westchester County facility, said a person familiar with his schedule. The person said the device was screened at the facility - not in proximity to their residence - and never reached the Clintons’ home.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the package discovered at Soros’ home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a mailbox outside the gates of the compound. A Soros employee opened it just inside the gates, not near Soros’ quarters, the official said.
The White House condemned attempted attacks on Obama, Clinton, others, saying ‘these terrorizing acts are despicable’ .
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday the targeting of US Democratic politicians Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with potential explosives amounted to acts of “domestic terrorism.”
“I stand with all Americans in condemning today's attempted acts of domestic terrorism,” the Republican McConnell said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, also condemned the sending of the suspicious packages just 13 days before crucial midterm elections, saying “we cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures.”
Trump promises thorough probe
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that threats of political violence have no place in the United States, promising a full investigation into suspicious packages that were mailed to prominent Democrats and others.
“The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. We will spare no resources or expense in this effort,” Trump, a Republican, said at an event on opioid abuse.
“In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together, and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”