POLITICS
10/24/2018 09:49 am ET Updated Oct 25, 2018

Joe Biden Also Was Sent Suspicious Package After Obama, Clintons Targeted With Bombs

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the packages, calling them "an act of terror."
  • Authorities are investigating a series of suspicious packages sent to CNN as well as several high-profile Democrats.

  • The packages appeared to contain pipe bombs, officials said. No injuries have been reported.

  • Lawmakers and media personalities on Wednesday called for an end to aggressive, partisan rhetoric in the wake of the incidents.

Law enforcement officials are investigating suspicious packages containing “potential explosive devices” sent to several prominent Democrats, including Hillary and Bill Clinton and former President Barack Obama, as well as CNN. 

The packages ― all mailed in manila envelopes with bubble wrap interior ― are being sent for analysis at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, the agency said Wednesday afternoon.

Devices were sent late Tuesday to the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York, roughly 30 miles north of New York City, and early Wednesday to Obama’s office in Washington, D.C., according to the Secret Service

CNN reported Wednesday evening that investigators were tracking down an additional suspicious package apparently addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden. Citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, CNN’s Jim Sciutto said authorities had considered the package a threat because it appeared similar to the others mailed this week.

Reuters later confirmed the news about the mailing to Biden.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the Secret Service said in a statement about the first mailings. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”

CNN’s New York newsroom was evacuated Wednesday morning after a “suspicious package” containing a device that appeared to be a pipe bomb was discovered in the mailroom, along with an “envelope containing white powder” that is currently being tested, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters. 

The package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, CNN reported. Brennan, a contributor for NBC and MSNBC, does not for work for CNN. 

The explosive device sent to CNN’s headquarters appears to have been sent by the same individual or individuals who sent the packages to the Clintons and Obama, NYPD’s chief of counterterrorism said. The same person or group is also expected to be behind an explosive device sent to prominent Democratic donor George Soros earlier this week.

It’s unclear what motivated the individual or individuals to send the apparent explosive devices, though all of the intended victims are frequently subjects of President Donald Trump’s ire. The president has repeatedly attacked CNN as “fake news,” called for Hillary Clinton to be thrown in prison, and claimed to be the victim of a conspiratorial takedown by Soros and Democrats.

All of the packages under investigation had Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, listed as the return sender, though her name was misspelled as “Shultz,” the FBI confirmed. 

A suspicious package found at Wasserman Schultz’s office in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday had been addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder but was rerouted to her address based on the return label.  

Wasserman Schultz issued a statement denouncing the attempted violence and said she was “deeply disturbed by the way [her] name was used.”

The FBI confirmed on Wednesday night that two suspicious packages addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had also been intercepted.

According to CNN, one of the packages was discovered at a congressional mail sorting facility while the second was found at a Los Angeles postal facility.

Earlier Wednesday, Waters confirmed that her office had been told about at least one of the suspicious packages.

“I have been informed by U.S. Capitol Police that my Washington, D.C. office was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI,” Waters told HuffPost in a statement. “I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror.” 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also said “a device” had been sent to his office in Manhattan. However, an NYPD sergeant confirmed to HuffPost that it was not a suspicious package but rather was a letter and a USB drive that contained electronic files on violent, right-wing group Proud Boys and is not thought to pose any threat.

Several news outlets initially reported that a separate package had been sent to the White House. The Secret Service said the reports were incorrect.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio strongly condemned the attempts as terrorist acts.

“What we saw here today was an effort to terrorize, clearly an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders in this country with acts of violence,” he said. “I want to make clear the people of New York will not be intimidated, we will go about our lives undeterred because the very concept to terrorism is to change us and we will not allow that to happen.”

The White House said “the United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.” 

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” 

Initially, Trump did not personally make a statement about the situation but tweeted, “I agree wholeheartedly!” along with a statement from Vice President Mike Pence condemning the attempted attacks.

Speaking to the press later, Trump denounced the attempted attacks. 

“In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear strong and unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States of America,” he said. “We’re extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning and we will get to the bottom of it.”

CNN President Jeff Zucker slammed the White House over its repeated attacks against the media in the wake of the bomb threats.

“There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” Zucker said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”

Hillary Clinton extended her gratitude to the Secret Service on Wednesday. Though she did not call out Trump by name in her remarks about the suspicious package, she noted the “deep divisions” plaguing the country.

“We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home,” Hillary Clinton said from Miami.

“It is a troubling time, isn’t it?” she added. “It’s a time of deep divisions and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”

Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting.

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