What We Know About the Suspicious Packages Sent to Democrats, CNN

Oct 24, 2018 by

Mother Jones

Obama, Clinton, Soros, Holder, Brennan, Waters, and CNN were targets.

Richard Drew/AP

Two days after an explosive device was discovered at the Westchester home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the Secret Service on Wednesday confirmed that two potential explosives were sent to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Then, in the span of a few chaotic hours, suspicious packages were also confirmed sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder, CNN, former CIA Director John Brennan, and Rep. Maxine Waters.

With details surrounding the two suspicious packages addressed to Obama and Clinton still fresh, CNN employees in New York were ordered to evacuate as law enforcement officials responded to the explosive device detected in the building. That package, which law enforcement officials later confirmed also contained white powder, was addressed to John Brennan, the former CIA director who has appeared regularly on cable news programs to offer sharp rebukes of President Donald Trump.

Several key commonalities have been widely reported, including the detail that the return address used on some of the packages belonged to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Schultz’s Florida offices were also evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious package was found—but it appears as though its arrival was a potential accident and that the package was intended for Holder.

In addition, Capitol Hill police intercepted a suspicious package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, one of Trump’s fiercest critics in Congress.

Some, if not all, of the packages, were also reportedly delivered in manila envelopes. The motive behind the attempted bombings is unclear at this time.

Perhaps the clearest pattern that has emerged, however, is the apparent targeting of prominent Democrats and a media organization, two groups that have been vilified by right-wing groups and the president, particularly as the midterm elections approach. In recent days, Trump has ratcheted up the rhetoric by publicly praising the Montana Republican who body-slammed a reporter, in addition to repeatedly and baselessly accusing Democrats of funding the so-called “caravan” of migrants attempting to enter the United States. Last month, he falsely accused Soros of bankrolling the sexual assault survivors protesting Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Trump, who at first retweeted a condemnation by Vice President Mike Pence to say he “wholeheartedly” agreed, later on Wednesday denounced the attacks as “despicable.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also released a statement condemning the acts.

But Trump’s calls to “unify” in light of the attacks were largely rejected, with many describing them as hypocritical coming from a president who regularly smeared his perceived opponents and journalists. “President Trump’s words ring hollow until he reverses his statements that condone acts of violence,” Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. CNN president Jeff Zucker sharply denounced both Trump and Sanders for their “total and complete lack of understanding” on the seriousness of the president’s ongoing attacks against the media.

This post will be updated as more information is confirmed.

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