US bomb threats: Man arrested in connection with suspicious packages targeting Trump critics

Clark Mindock
New York
,Chris Stevenson
Friday 26 October 2018 17:03
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pipe bomb florida

A suspect has been arrested by Federal authorities in connection with the investigation into explosive devices and suspicious packages sent to prominent Donald Trump critics across the US, according to the Justice Department.

A spokeswoman said that one person was in custody, believed to be a man arrested in the Miami area of Florida. A Justice Department press conference is set for 2.30pm local time.

investigators had been focusing on Southern Florida, with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen having confirmed that a number of the packages had been sent from the state.

A mail sorting facility in Opa-locka, northwest Florida, was searched on Thursday night by a Miami-Dade police bomb squad.

The arrest comes as authorities investigate the latest suspicious packages addressed to Senator Cory Booker and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. They are the 11th and 12th package or explosive device sent to prominent Democrats and critics of the president.

The package addressed to the Democratic senator from New Jersey was found at a mail sorting facility in Florida, the FBI said on Twitter.

The New York package was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but included the CNN office address. That package comes two days after a package addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan via CNN was found in the news network's office building.

Responding to the news, Mr Clapper said he had "every confidence" in the federal officials investigating the spate of threats.

“I think anyone who has...publicly been a critic of President Trump needs to take precautions...but at the same time we can’t get too overwhelmed about it, too overwrought is the right word,” the former intelligence chief said.

“I have every confidence in all the law enforcement involved,” Mr Clapper said.

In addition to Mr Clapper, Mr Booker, and Mr Brennan, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were both targeted by the mail. Actor and liberal activist Robert De Niro's office in New York also received a package, as did the office of Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who previously served as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

A van is currently in the possession of federal authorities, and is thought to be a major piece of evidence for authorities. The van, which was covered in stickers that appeared to support right-wing and conservative causes — one sticker appeared to show Mr Trump, and another depicted the GOP insignia — was found by authorities in Plantation, Florida. Officials then placed a big blue tarp over the vehicle, and were then transporting the vehicle to a safe location

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