Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Clinton have been targeted with suspected explosive devices sent in the mail, the U.S. Secret Service said Wednesday, two weeks before midterm elections that could reshape the Republican-controlled Congress.
Other Democrats such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida were also targeted, as well as the Time Warner Center which houses the New York bureau of CNN, a cable news network often criticized by Trump and political conservatives.
President Donald Trump condemned what he called «egregious conduct» and pledged the GOP administration will get to the bottom of the cases.
«The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice,» Trump said in remarks at the White House.
«In these times, we have to unify,» he said. «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.»
Similarly, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the cases as «an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence.»
The string of incidents came after an explosive device was discovered at the suburban New York home of billionaire George Soros on Monday.
A package addressed to Clinton in New York state was recovered late Tuesday and another package addressed to Obama was intercepted in Washington early Wednesday morning, the Secret Service said in a statement.
«The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,» the statement said. «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,» it added.
CNN President Jeff Zucker wrote in a letter to employees that the Time Warner Center was «evacuated out of an abundance of caution» and that CNN is «working with authorities to determine the severity of the situation.»
All of its bureaus around the world are being checked «out of a complete abundance of caution,» he added.
All — Kyodo News+