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

Targets include Obama, Clinton, Soros, Holder, Brennan, Waters, CNN, Biden, De Niro, Booker, and Clapper.

Richard Drew/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

A string of suspicious packages containing potential explosive devices has been sent to prominent Democrats and the New York offices of CNN this week, prompting a massive manhunt for the person or people behind the attempted bombings. Targets have included former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan via CNN, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden, and the actor Robert De Niro.

On Friday, the FBI announced that a package addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was discovered in Florida. Another addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was uncovered in New York.

Several key commonalities have been reported, including the detail that the return address used on some, if not all, of the packages belonged to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Schultz’s Florida offices were evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious package was detected, but it appears as though its arrival was a potential accident and that the package was intended for Holder.

The first package was uncovered at Soros’ Westchester County home on Monday.

On Wednesday, shortly after the packages addressed to Obama and Clinton were reported, 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. 

While a motive for the spate of bombings remains unclear, the clearest pattern that has emerged 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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate