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Authorities have intercepted bombs intended for former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and several other top political figures were targeted in what authorities are investigating as a connected series of incidents.
Also, CNN’s New York bureau in the Time Warner Center was evacuated after a package containing a bomb, addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, was discovered, city and local law enforcement officials said.
In addition, sources told CNN that a suspicious package intended for California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was intercepted at a congressional mail screening facility in Maryland; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received what he said was a device at his Manhattan office; and the San Diego Union-Tribune evacuated its building after “suspicious looking packages” were spotted outside.
Later Wednesday night, two law enforcement sources told CNN that law enforcement officials are trying to track down a package addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden now considered suspicious because of similarities to other packages. The package was misaddressed and returned to sender.
The developments, which unfolded rapidly and continued steadily into the afternoon, touched off fear and confusion and immediately invited questions about the motives of those responsible. The recipients of the packages are all prominent targets of right-wing criticism and, in many cases, of President Donald Trump himself.
“This clearly is an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at an afternoon news conference.
CNN, citing a law enforcement official, was initially told a suspicious package containing a pipe bomb that was addressed to the White House was intercepted at Joint Base Bolling in Washington, DC. The Secret Service, however, later said it had only intercepted the two packages intended for Obama and Clinton and called reports of a package headed for the White House “incorrect.”
The president, Donald Trum has reacted swiftly. Trump vowed Wednesday afternoon that “the full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation.”
“We will spare no resources or expense in this effort,” Trump said at the top of his remarks at a White House opioid bill signing event. He said he had just concluded a briefing with the FBI, Department of Justice, Homeland Security Department and Secret Service.
The President — who has recently taken to calling his political opponents “evil” — called for unity in his remarks and said “we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that threats or acts of political violence have no place in the United States of America.”
“This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans,” Trump said, adding, “We are extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it.”
His remarks were greeted with a standing ovation in the room.