‘Potential explosive devices’ sent to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (… and CNN)

John Swaine — The Guardian Oct 24, 2018

Clinton ObamaPackages containing suspected bombs were sent to the homes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Secret Service said on Wednesday.

The discoveries were made after an explosive device was found at the New York home of George Soros, the prominent liberal donor.

Later on Wednesday morning the cable network CNN evacuated its New York offices after receiving what it called a suspicious package. Police were investigating.

The Secret Service, which continues to protect the Obama and Clinton families, said in a statement that a package addressed to Clinton, the former secretary of state, was found late on Tuesday.

The FBI said in a tweet that the package was discovered “in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua,” about 25 miles north of New York City.

A second package “addressed to the residence” of former President Obama in Washington was found early on Wednesday morning, according to the Secret Service.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the agency said. “Both packages were intercepted prior to being delivered to their intended location.”

Emergency responders were outside the Time Warner Center in Manhattan late on Wednesday morning after CNN, which broadcasts from the building, said a suspicious package was discovered in its mail room. A fire alarm was heard on-air at 10.09am.

The New York Police Department said special operations officers were investigating and published an appeal for people to contact its counterterrorism hotline if they had information.

Soros, Clinton and Obama are three of the most prominent figures in Democratic politics and have for years been the subjects of attacks and conspiracy theories from Donald Trump and allies in the Republican party and rightwing media.

Matt Gaetz, a Republican congressman from Florida, last week falsely suggested that Soros, a billionaire financier and philanthropist, was funding the “caravan” of Central Americans currently traveling through Mexico toward the US.

Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said on Wednesday that the White House condemned the attempted bombings. “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sanders.

One government official told the Associated Press that investigators believed the explosive device found addressed to Clinton was linked to the one found Monday at the home of Soros.

That device, according to US officials, consisted of a six-inch length of pipe loaded with explosive black powder. It was safely detonated by investigators after being found by a domestic staff member.

The Secret Service said on Wednesday it had opened “a full scope criminal investigation” with federal and local law enforcement to find the sender or senders of the packages.