Trump condemns suspicious packages as 'despicable acts,' promises full investigation

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Suspicious devices sent to Clintons, Obamas, CNN in New York City
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Rob Nelson reports on the suspicious device found at the CNN headquarters in New York City.

Bombs and other suspicious packages targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN, and others were intercepted Wednesday in a rash of attacks aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticized by political conservatives.

New York City police commissioner said the package sent to CNN contained a live explosive and envelope with white powder.

In addition to the packages delivered Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to the Clintons, Obamas, and CNN's New York studio, similar packages were sent to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California).

All of the packages had a Rep. Wasserman Schultz's office in Florida listed as the return address--although investigators do not believe she or anyone in her office mailed the packages.

A similar device was found Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed a similar package was found at Rep. Wasserman Schultz' office in Florida.

There were no explosions and no reports of injuries.

President Donald Trump issued what he called a bi-partisan statement condemning the suspicious packages and the person who sent them.

"A major federal investigation is now underway. The full weight of our government is being deployed to...bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. We will spare no resources or expense in this effort."

The U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

New York Governor Cuomo confirmed during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that a suspicious package was sent to his office in Manhattan.

The U.S. Secret Service issued the following statement:

The U.S. Secret Service has intercepted two suspicious packages addressed to Secret Service protectees.

Late on October 23, 2018, the Secret Service recovered a single package addressed to Former First Lady Hillary Clinton in Westchester County, New York. Early this morning, October 24, 2018, a second package addressed to the residence of Former President Barack Obama was intercepted by Secret Service personnel in Washington, DC.

The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.

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 White House condemned the attempted attacks with the following statement:

"We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures. These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. 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."

Vice President Mike Pence's Twitter account sent the following:

President Donald Trump then took to Twitter to agree: