Mail bombs sent to 5 prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; CNN offices evacuated
Explosive devices were sent to the offices of former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Suspicious packages were sent to the homes and offices of at least five prominent figures in the Democratic party, including the homes of former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to the Secret Service and law enforcement officials.
CNN was also forced to evacuate its offices in midtown Manhattan due to a mail bomb addressed to former CIA director John Brennan was discovered in the newsroom's mailroom.
The packages, some of which used the Sunrise, Fla. office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the return address, were mailed to:
• President Obama's home in Washington, D.C.
• Hillary Clinton's home in Westchester County, N.Y.
• Former CIA director John Brennan (sent to CNN's New York office)
• Former attorney general Eric Holder (mailed to the wrong address and sent to Schultz's office due to the return address label)
• California Rep. Maxine Waters (intercepted by Capitol Hill police)
President Trump, speaking at an opioids event at the White House, called for unity as officials investigate the suspicious devices that were mailed to prominent Democrats.
"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," Trump said. "The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority,"
Officials say a single package addressed to Clinton in Westchester County, N.Y., was recovered late Tuesday. A second package addressed to Obama's residence in Washington, D.C., was intercepted by the Secret Service Wednesday morning.
"Both packages were intercepted prior to being delivered to their intended location," the Secret Service said in a statement. "The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them."
The suspicious package that forced the evacuation of the Time Warner Center in New York City was addressed to Brennan in care of "Time Warner (CNN)." Brennan is not a CNN employee — he is a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC, where he has been an outspoken critic of President Trump and his administration.
New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the device sent to CNN contained a live explosive and an envelope with white powder.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that a similar device was mailed to his office in Manhattan, but that package was later cleared and ruled unrelated, according to an NYPD spokesman.
"As you've heard there's a number of devices and there's a pattern apparently with them," Cuomo told reporters.
The New York Times reported that the packages were similar to an explosive device found Monday at the suburban New York home of George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist known to support liberal causes. But unlike the packages mailed to other prominent Democrats, officials say the device at Soros' home was
Law enforcement officials told the Times that the device found at Soros' home "was constructed from a length of pipe about six inches long filled with explosive powder." It was ultimately detonated by bomb squad technicians, and no one was injured.
In recent days, there have been false reports that Soros was paying refugees in Honduras to join a caravan of migrants heading through Mexico toward the border with the United States. Those inaccurate claims were fueled by a video shared on Twitter by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, which was amplified by a retweet from President Trump.
But the video actually originated from Chiquimula, Guatemala, as Guatemalan journalist Luis Assardo confirmed to the New York Times.
"Because a Honduran government official sent me this video, I believed it came from Honduras," Gaetz said in a subsequent tweet, neither apologizing for the false video or removing it from his Twitter account, where it has amassed more than 2 million views.
A CNN report that a another device addressed to the White House was also intercepted was denied by the Secret Service.