Crude pipe bombs sent to Obama and Clintons; CNN evacuated

Crude pipe bombs sent to Obama and Clintons; CNN evacuated
New York Police stand outside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. A police bomb squad was sent to CNN's offices at the center, and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

Latest: Crude pipe bombs targeting former US president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN have been intercepted amid a spate of attacks aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticised by political conservatives.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said his office received a similar package and the FBI said Florida Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz did as well, possibly misaddressed and then sent to her as the return addressee.

A similar device was found on Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.

There were no explosions and no reports of injuries.

The bombs were intercepted two weeks before nationwide elections that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The events quickly overtook other campaign news in an already tense political season which has included pitched fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and sexual violence against women.

Former US president Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Clinton (Wesley Johnson/PA)
Former US president Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Clinton (Wesley Johnson/PA)

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

Republican Vice President Mike Pence said they “have no place in this country”, and Mr Trump tweeted “I agree wholeheartedly.”

All the confirmed bombs appeared to come from the same person or persons, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s head of intelligence and counter-terrorism.

The US Secret Service intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Mrs Clinton at the home in Chappaqua, New York, she shares with former president Bill Clinton, and another that was sent to Mr Obama at his home with Michelle Obama in Washington.

Bill and Hillary Clinton in the driveway of their home in Chappaqua in 2000 (AP)
Bill and Hillary Clinton in the driveway of their home in Chappaqua in 2000 (AP)

A police bomb squad removed another one from CNN’s New York headquarters, which was evacuated.

Overhead TV shots showed a truck carrying that device, which law enforcement officials said was linked to the other explosives, being driven away.

The package sent to CNN contained a live explosive and envelope with white powder, and officials said the substance was being tested to see if it was dangerous.

NYPD officers in the Time Warner Centre area (Kevin Hagen/AP)
NYPD officers in the Time Warner Centre area (Kevin Hagen/AP)

Mr Cuomo said at a briefing that “we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives”.

A US official told the Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons’ home was linked to one found on Monday at the Soros compound.

The entrance to a house owned by philanthropist George Soros in a suburb of New York City (Seth Wenig/AP)
The entrance to a house owned by philanthropist George Soros in a suburb of New York City (Seth Wenig/AP)

The official noted that one of the packages had the return address of Mrs Schultz, an ironic reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party’s eventual presidential nominee.

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

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “These terrorising acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Two law enforcement officials said the pipe bomb at CNN was crude but operational and was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who regularly appears as a television contributor and who has publicly clashed with Mr Trump.

They said it was similar to other explosives discovered in the past few days.

Mrs Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and was not at the family’s New York residence at the time.

She said “we are fine” and thanked the Secret Service for intercepting the package “long before it made its way to our home”.

The former secretary of state said her family was grateful for the Secret Service’s “service and commitment and obviously never more than today”.

Mr Clinton was at the family’s Chappaqua home at the time the package was intercepted on Tuesday night at a Westchester County facility, said a person familiar with his schedule.

They said the device was screened at the facility – not in proximity to their residence – and never reached the Clintons’ home.

A law enforcement official told the AP that the package discovered at Mr Soros’s home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a postbox outside the gates of the compound.

A Soros employee opened it just inside the gates, the official said.

Earlier: Explosive devices sent to Obama and Clintons; CNN's NY office evacuated over suspicious package

The US Secret Service has intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton and also discovered a possible explosive that was sent to former president Barack Obama.

A police bomb squad was also sent to TV news channel CNN's offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package. The package is believed to be a pipe bomb, according to police.

A US official told The Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York, is linked to one found on Monday at the compound of billionaire philantrhopist George Soros.

The official said one of the packages had the return address of US representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

The package addressed to Mr Obama was intercepted on Wednesday by Secret Service agents in Washington.

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

Obama with Clinton in 2016
Obama with Clinton in 2016

The White House condemned "the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures".

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said: "These terrorising acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Mrs Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and was not at the family's New York residence at the time.

She is headlining a fundraising reception on Wednesday for former health and human services secretary Donna Shalala, who is running for Congress in South Florida.

Mr Clinton was at the family's Chappaqua home at the time the package was intercepted at a Westchester County facility. The device was screened at the facility - not in proximity to their residence - and never reached the Clintons' home.

A law enforcement official told the AP that the package discovered at Mr Soros' home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a post box outside the gates of the compound. An employee for Mr Soros opened it just inside the gates, not near Mr Soros' quarters.

Update 3.20pm: The US Secret Service says agents have intercepted packages containing "possible explosive devices" addressed to former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The agency says neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures.

It says the devices were discovered late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday.

File photo shows the home of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
File photo shows the home of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A US official tells The Associated Press that a "functional explosive device" was found during screening at Bill and Hillary Clinton's suburban New York home.

The official says investigators believe the explosive is linked to one found on Monday at the compound of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

The Secret Service says a second package was addressed to Mr Obama and was intercepted in Washington.

The White House has condemned attempted attacks on Mr Obama, Ms Clinton and others and says "these terrorising acts are despicable".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “These terrorising acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

She continued: “The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”

US news channel CNN says its offices in New York have been evacuated because of a suspicious package.

Earlier:'Suspicious package' found at Clinton home; 'Explosive device' sent to Obama

A "functional explosive device" has been found at Hillary and Bill Clinton's suburban New York home, US officials say.

The official says investigators believe the explosive is linked to one found on Monday at the compound of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

Crude pipe bombs sent to Obama and Clintons; CNN evacuated

The device was discovered early on Wednesday morning at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York.

Police in New Castle, New York - who cover Chappaqua - say they assisted the FBI, Secret Service and Westchester County authorities in "the investigation of a suspicious package".

Also today, the US Secret Service says a package identified as a 'potential explosive device' was sent to former president Barack Obama in Washington.

More to follow.

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