A member of the New York Police Department bomb squad is pictured outside the Time Warner Center in the Manhattan borough of New York City after a suspicious package was found inside the CNN Headquarters in New York, US, October 24, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN COOMBS)
WASHINGTON – Active pipe bombs were addressed to at least six prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, on Wednesday, sparking fear across the country that an atmosphere of increasing partisanship had taken a violent turn.
The former presidents and secretary of state, as well as former attorney-general Eric Holder, congresswomen Maxine Waters of California and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, as well as former CIA director John Brennan, were all targets of a plot now under investigation by federal law enforcement.
And just as CNN anchors were reporting the news, they themselves were forced off air to the sound of a fire alarm prompted by a bomb sent to their New York headquarters. The bombs were real and usable, and were intercepted through routine mail screening procedures, spokesmen for the New York Police Department and Secret Service said.
The events prompted US President Donald Trump to issue a rare call for national unity from the White House.
“In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together,” Trump said, expressing anger at the news. “Acts and threats of political violence have no place in the United States of America.”
The line earned him a standing ovation from his audience, gathered for an event on opioid addiction.
“This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans,” Trump added.
“The Secret Service has initiated a full-scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible,” the service said in a statement to the press.
Based on their preliminary investigation, the Secret Service said it believed the bombs are connected to a device sent to Soros
' home in the community near where the Clintons live in Chappaqua, New York. That device was found by an employee on Soros' property.
What tied together each bomb threat was the political leanings of their targets, seen by the far Right as antagonists of the Trump administration. But the White House was quick to condemn threatened bombings of its political opponents.
“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.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son Donald Trump Jr. both tweeted out condemnations of the attempted attacks.
“As someone whose family has directly been the victim of these mail threats, I condemn whoever did this regardless of party or ideology,” Trump Jr. stated on Twitter. “This crap has to stop and I hope they end up in jail for a long time.”
Rumors on social media suggested a similar bomb had been sent to the White House, but a government official denied the claims.
Trump campaigned for the White House on a pledge to “lock up” Hillary Clinton and, as president, has characterized CNN as “fake news” and the “enemy of the American people.”
He has also frequently targeted Rep. Waters, including as recently as last night, as a “low IQ person” representative of the Democratic Party.
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