The Latest: Trump: ‘Bomb stuff’ is distracting from election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump (all times local):

11 a.m.

President Donald Trump is arguing that a mail bomb scare targeting Democratic politicians and CNN is distracting from his midterm election efforts, dismissing it as “this ‘Bomb’ stuff.”

Trump tweets Friday morning: “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”

The president’s comments came as two more suspicious packages were discovered Friday. They were addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

That brings the total number of devices to 12 in recent days. The targets have all been high-profile critics of the president.

Trump initially called for unity, but quickly turned to blaming the press for the divisive political climate.


10:10 a.m.

A law enforcement official has confirmed to The Associated Press that the suspicious package addressed to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker was found during an overnight search of the Opa-locka, Florida, mail facility that lasted until 4 a.m. Friday.

The official said the package was similar to the others sent to targets of right-wing anger, with the return address listed as the Sunrise, Florida, office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The official did not know if the package was outgoing or a return-to-sender mailing.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to reporters on the ongoing investigation.

— By Curt Anderson in Miami


9:50 a.m.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says he is not surprised he has been targeted with a suspicious package.

Clapper told CNN Friday morning that the devices sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump in recent days were “definitely domestic terrorism.”

Two officials told the AP that a package was discovered at a postal facility in Midtown Manhattan. One official said it was addressed to Clapper. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Clapper described the situation as “serious,” but said it is “not going to silence the administration’s critics.”

Clapper stressed that he did not want to suggest any direct link between Trump’s past rhetoric and the packages. But he said Trump should bear responsibility for the “coarseness and uncivility of the dialogue in this country.”

— By Michael R. Sisak in New York and Michael Balsamo in Washington


9:40 a.m.

Robert De Niro is calling on people to vote in light of the series of bombs mailed to targets of right-wing anger.

In a statement released by his publicist on Friday, the actor says “There’s something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People must vote!”

A suspicious package containing what authorities described as a crude pipe bomb was discovered at De Niro’s New York City office on Thursday.

De Niro says he is thankful no one was hurt. He also thanked “the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us.”


9:25 a.m.

Two law enforcement officials say a package closely resembling parcels sent to critics of President Donald Trump has been found at a postal facility in New York City.

A police bomb squad was responding to a post office in Midtown Manhattan to check out the item, which was discovered by postal workers. One official says it was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Police were advising pedestrians and motorists to avoid the area while they investigate.

The post office is near several Broadway theaters

— By Michael R. Sisak in New York and Michael Balsamo in Washington


8:55 a.m.

The FBI says a suspicious package addressed to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has been recovered in Florida and is similar in appearance to the other ones received in the last few days.

That’s the 11th package this week.

The targets of packages containing pipe bombs have been prominent critics of President Donald Trump.

Other packages have been intended for people including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, philanthropist George Soros, former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Maxine Waters.

The FBI is doing a nationwide manhunt for whoever is sending the pipe bomb packages. Officials are trying to determine if the sender or senders was trying to sow fear or actually cause physical destruction.


5:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump claims he’s being blamed for the mail bombs addressed to some of his most prominent critics.

Trump says in a tweet sent before dawn Friday, “Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!'”

Pipe bombs were sent to Trump critics including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and to ex-CIA director John Brennan at CNN but didn’t explode.

Trump tweeted Thursday much of the anger in society is caused by the “Mainstream Media.”

Brennan replied Trump should stop blaming others and should “Look in the mirror.” Brennan advises Trump to “try to act Presidential.”

CNN hasn’t responded to messages seeking comment before business hours.


1:30 a.m.

Investigators have been searching coast-to-coast for the culprit and motives behind the bizarre mail-bomb plot aimed at critics of the president, analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear two weeks before Election Day.

Three more devices were linked to the plot Thursday — two addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and one to actor Robert De Niro — bringing the total to 10 in an outbreak of politically loaded menace with little if any precedent.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like booby-trapped package bombs that would explode upon opening. A search of a postal database suggested at least some may have been mailed from Florida.


For the AP’s complete coverage of the mail-bomb scare:

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