World: Manhunt under way after bombs sent to U.S. Democrats
The latest device was addressed to actor Robert De Niro, according to CNN.
None of the eight devices went off and no injuries were reported, but some top Democrats called the threats a symptom of a coarsening brand of political rhetoric promoted by President Donald Trump, who also condemned the acts.
All the targets are frequently maligned by right-wing critics, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder.
Former CIA Director John Brennan, prominent Democratic Party donor George Soros and California Representative Maxine Waters, an outspoken critic of Trump, were also targets.
On Thursday morning, the New York City bomb squad removed a suspicious package addressed to De Niro and similar to the other bombs, CNN reported. After the Oscar-winning actor’s expletive-laden attack on the president at the Tony Awards in June, Trump called him a “very low IQ individual.”
The bomb packages were sent as the nation prepares for Nov. 6 elections that will decide whether Democrats take control of one or both houses of Congress from Republicans and deny Trump the majority his party now holds in both.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
An FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies “will continue to work to identity and arrest whosoever is responsible for sending these packages,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
Several politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, described it as an act of terrorism.
Investigators were trying to track down another suspicious parcel they believe was addressed to Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, a federal official told Reuters late on Wednesday.
The CNN bureau in New York received a package addressed to Brennan, who has appeared as an on-air CNN analyst, leading police to evacuate the Time Warner building in a busy Manhattan neighbourhood near Central Park.
The package contained an envelope of white powder that experts were analysing, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
Trump told a political rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday his government would conduct “an aggressive investigation.”
Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself,” Trump said. “We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony.”
He also said the media had a responsibility “to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories.”
Last week, Trump, who has joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of encouraging “mob” tactics, heaped praise on a Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter in 2017.
At an event in Texas on Wednesday, Brennan faulted Trump for frequent inflammatory rhetoric.