7 pipe bombs target Democrats, CNN as political tensions mount

Pipe bombs packed with shards of glass were intercepted en route to several prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and former U.S. president Barack Obama, in an unnerving wave that deepened political tensions and fears two weeks before national midterm elections.

None of the seven bombs detonated and nobody was hurt as authorities in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida and California seized the suspicious packages.

A police bomb sniffing dog is deployed outside of the Time Warner Center. CNN's office at the centre was evacuated. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One of the explosives was sent to CNN, which prompted the evacuation of the Time Warner Center in Manhattan where the news outlet has its offices.

The targets of the bombs were some of the figures most frequently criticized by President Donald Trump, who still assails Clinton at rallies while supporters chant "lock her up" — two years after he defeated her and she largely left the political scene. Trump also often singles out cable news network CNN as he rails against the "fake news" media.

'Let's get along,' Trump says

Trump took a softer tone at a rally in Wisconsin Wednesday night.

"Let's get along," he said. "By the way, do you see how nice I'm behaving tonight? Have you ever seen this?"

Watch as Trump talks about the federal investigation into the packages:

U.S. president addresses the incident where packages containing 'potential explosive devices' were sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN 2:07

The attacks overtook other news in an already tense political season that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of Trump's presidency. The actions, which caused panicked building evacuations and reports of additional explosives that later proved unfounded, are bound to add to fears that overheated rhetoric could lead to deadly violence as the parties engage in bitter fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and the treatment of women.

The bombs, each with a small battery, were about 15 centimetres long and packed with powder and broken glass, said a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Soros, Holder, Waters among the targeted

The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.

The first crude bomb to be discovered had been delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Clinton, Soros and Obama are pictured in a combination photograph made from Reuters file photos. Federal authorities are investigating packages that were addressed from Wasserman Schultz and to the other three. (Gretchen Ertl/Kamil Krzaczynski/Luke MacGregor/Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

The FBI said an additional package was intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder, but that one ended up at a Florida office of Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it.

Later Wednesday, the FBI said two additional packages addressed for Representative Maxine Waters had been intercepted that were similar in appearance to five others.

Trump's comments 'ring hollow,' Dems say

The White House condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and other perceived foes of the administration.

"Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States," Trump said. "This egregious conduct is abhorrent."

The FBI says it's possible that more packages were mailed and is urging the public not to handle any suspicious packages. (FBI)

Other Republican leaders said the same. But Democratic Senate and House leaders Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California said such words "ring hollow" when coming from Trump. They noted the president's recent praise of a Republican congressperson who body-slammed a reporter, among other Trump statements.

Law enforcement officials said all the packages were similar: manila envelopes with bubble-wrap interior bearing six stamps and the return address of Wasserman Schultz. She is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party's eventual presidential nominee.

No details yet on suspect or motive

The devices all were sent to an FBI lab in Virginia to be studied. Officials provided no details on a possible suspect or motive.

"Suffice it to say, it appears an individual or individuals sent out multiple, similar packages," said John Miller, the New York Police Department's head of intelligence and counterterrorism, who briefed reporters.

The U.S. Secret Service intercepted the bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton at the Chappaqua, N.Y., home she shares with former president Bill Clinton, and another that was sent to Obama at his home in Washington.

Watch as Hillary Clinton talks about the packages, thanks the Secret Service.

Former U.S. secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the news that a suspicious device was sent to her house. 0:51

A police bomb squad removed still another from CNN's New York office, which was evacuated. The CNN package was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who has publicly clashed with Trump and is a regular television contributor.

Police reviewing security video

Speaking at an event in Austin, Texas, Brennan called the spate of pipe bombs "a very unfortunate turn of events," particularly if he and others are being targeted for their public comments.

"Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump, too often, has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger, if not violence, when he points to acts of violence or also talks about swinging at somebody from the press, the media," Brennan said.

See where some of the suspicious packages were sent.

Overhead TV shots showed a truck carrying that device being driven away. The package sent to CNN contained a live explosive, with wires and a black pipe, and an envelope with white powder, officials said. The powder was tested and determined to have been harmless, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill says investigators are reviewing security video to see if they can identify a courier believed to have delivered the pipe bomb package to CNN's office. O'Neill said in an appearance on CNN that he was "pretty sure those images will be caught on video, and we'll be able to find out where that person came from before they entered the building and where they went to after."

Screening procedures kept Clinton, Obama safe

Waters, whom the president has denigrated as a "low-IQ individual," reported Wednesday afternoon that she was the target of a suspicious package. Though the FBI did not initially include her on a list of targeted individuals, the bureau later said two packages addressed to her and similar to the five others had been found. One was intercepted at a Los Angeles mail facility.

Neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages sent to them, and neither was at risk because of screening procedures, the Secret Service said.

Watch The National's coverage of the mail bombs

A major investigation is underway after suspicious packages addressed to former U.S. president Barack Obama and two-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, CNN and other individuals were intercepted. The Secret Service characterized some of the packages as "potential explosive devices." 11:00

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."

But while stopping short of blaming Trump's rhetoric for inspiring the attacks, Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, contended there was a "total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."

"The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that," he said.

Hillary Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida and was not at the family's New York residence when the bomb was intercepted. But Bill Clinton was at the family's Chappaqua home, said a person familiar with his schedule. The person said the device was screened at a Westchester County facility — not near their residence — and never reached the Clintons' home.

A law enforcement official told the AP that the package discovered at Soros's 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's quarters, said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

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