WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump (all times local):
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he doesn’t know why pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN but says a Florida man charged in the case “appears to be a partisan.”
Sessions and other law enforcement officials are declining to speculate on whether the current divided political climate in America and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric emboldened the man. FBI Director Christopher Wray says it’s too early to discuss a motive behind the pipe bombs.
Federal authorities have charged 56-year-old Cesar Altieri Sayoc with five crimes including mailing explosives and threatening former U.S. presidents. Sayoc is a registered Republican and ardent Trump supporter who pushed far-right conspiracy theories online.
Some of Sayoc’s social media posts singled out the targets of the bombs.
Trump has called for unity but also has blamed the press for the divisive political climate.
The head of the FBI says the suspect arrested in the mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats was found in part using fingerprint evidence and possible DNA.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday investigators had fingerprints of Florida resident Cesar Sayoc and had possible DNA collected from two explosive devices. Wray says they matched a fingerprint found on one of the packages that had been sent to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
Sayoc was arrested Friday at an auto shop in Plantation, Florida. He has been charged with five crimes and faces 58 years in prison. He will be prosecuted in New York, where five of the 12 devices were found.
The mail bombs have been sent in recent days to political opponents of President Donald Trump.
FBI Director Christopher Wray says more than a dozen pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and CNN were “not hoax devices.”
Wray says each of the pipe bombs contained materials that could react and cause a potential explosion.
Wray made the comments Friday as federal authorities announced the charging of 56-year-old Cesar Altieri Sayoc, of Florida, with five federal crimes including mailing explosives and threatening former U.S. presidents.
Wray says federal authorities have located 13 improvised explosive devices that were assembled in a similar manner.
None of the devices has exploded and no one has been injured.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says federal authorities are charging a 56-year-old Florida man with five federal crimes including the mailing of explosives.
Sessions says the charges carry a maximum of 58 years in prison.
Session announced the charges Friday just hours after federal authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc. Sayoc is accused of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs through the mail to prominent Democrats including former President Barack Obama and to CNN.
Sayoc is an amateur bodybuilder and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump who pushed far-right conspiracy theories online.
None of the devices exploded, and no one has been injured.
Sen. Kamala Harris’ office says authorities in Sacramento, California are investigating a suspicious package mailed to her.
Harris’ office says the package was similar to those that have been sent to other prominent Democrats.
The senator’s office says it was informed that the package was identified at a Sacramento mail facility. The FBI responded to the facility in a South Sacramento neighborhood that’s been blocked off by caution tape.
News of the package comes as authorities arrested a Florida man suspected of sending more than 10 mail bombs in recent days.
Harris is a Democrat serving her first term in the U.S. Senate.
A law enforcement official says that the man detained in Florida in connection with the pipe bomb scare will be prosecuted in New York City.
The official said Friday that Cesar Sayoc will face charges in federal court in Manhattan after an initial court appearance in Florida. Five of the 12 improvised devices involved in the case were recovered in the Southern District of New York.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the prosecution because a complaint was still being drafted and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The mail bombs have been sent in recent days to political opponents of President Donald Trump.
A Twitter account that appears to belong to the suspect in the mail-bomb scare includes repeated attacks on billionaire George Soros and praise for President Donald Trump and other Republicans.
The man was identified by law enforcement officials as Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida. In linking him to the Twitter account, The Associated Press noted that it contains imagery that mirrored what appeared on the side of the van that authorities seized, in tweets that had been sent long before the explosive devices began to appear.
Authorities have not said whether the van seized in Florida was linked to Sayoc.
The tweets accuse Soros of paying off a victim from the Parkland mass shooting and accusing Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, of being a Soros puppet. The account also praises Trump and other Republicans.
The account includes anti-Gillum memes, with one including the caption ”$500,000 SOROS PUPPET.” The Oct. 24 posting includes a photo of Soros doctored to look like he’s holding a puppet meant to resemble Gillum.
According to court and other public records, Cesar Alteri Sayoc Jr., 56, has a lengthy criminal and court record in Florida. He has been convicted on theft, stolen property and traffic charges and in 2002 on a threat to “throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device.”
Sayoc is in custody in Florida in the mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats. He was born in New York.
Sayoc was sentenced in August 2002 for threatening to throw a bomb in a conversation with a Florida utility representative, according to Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney who represented him. Dade County court records showed Sayoc served a year’s probation after a judge signed a discharge certificate in November 2002.
Lowy told The Associated Press that Sayoc “made a verbal threat when he was frustrated at a lack of service.” Lowy said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with bomb-making expertise.
The lawyer said Sayoc was a bodybuilder then, and displayed no political leanings except for plastering a vehicle he owned with Native American signs.
Court records also show that Sayoc was convicted in the 1990s in Broward County on grand theft and stolen property charges and in 2004 on a felony charge of fraudulent refunds and misdemeanor of tampering with physical evidence.
President Donald Trump is confirming that a suspect in the mail bomb scare is in custody and says he will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
Trump, in his first remarks since Cesar Sayoc, 56, was apprehended in Florida, declared that “we must never allow political violence take root in America.”
More than 10 mail bombs have been sent in recent days to political opponents of the president.
Trump declared that “these terrorizing acts are despicable” and said Americans “must unify.”
But his remarks came just hours after Trump tweeted a complaint that the media’s focus on bombs was distracting from Republican efforts in the upcoming midterm elections.
He also put the word “bomb” in quotes, a seeming nod to those who believed the scare was a hoax.
The name of the man detained in connection with the pipe bomb scare is Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, according to law enforcement officials.
Four officials familiar with the investigation identified the man to The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter on the record.
It was not clear whether Sayoc had been formally charged in the rash of devices addressed in recent days to Democratic figures including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities arrested a man in Florida on Friday in connection with the mail-bomb scare that widened to 12 suspicious packages, the Justice Department said.
Law enforcement officers were seen on television examining a white van, its windows covered with an assortment of stickers, in the city of Plantation. They covered the vehicle with a blue tarp.
The man was in his 50s, a law enforcement official said, but his name and any charges he might face were not immediately known.
Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said authorities planned to announce more information at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The development came amid a coast-to-coast manhunt for the person responsible for a series of explosive devices addressed to Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
Law enforcement officials said they had intercepted a dozen packages in states across the country. None had exploded, and it wasn’t immediately clear if they were intended to cause physical harm or simply sow fear and anxiety.
Earlier Friday, authorities said suspicious packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper — both similar to those containing pipe bombs sent to other prominent critics of President Donald Trump— had been intercepted.
The discoveries — making 12 so far — further spurred a coast-to-coast investigation, as officials scrambled to locate a culprit and possible motive amid questions about whether new packages were being sent or simply surfacing after a period in mail system.
The devices have targeted well-known Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper at CNN’s address. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan via CNN in New York.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday the Justice Department was dedicating every available resource to the investigation “and I can tell you this: We will find the person or persons responsible. We will bring them to justice.”
Trump, on the other hand, complained that “this ‘bomb’ stuff” was taking attention away from the upcoming election and said critics were wrongly blaming him and his heated rhetoric.
Investigators were analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged to explode upon opening. But they were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in an interview Thursday with Fox News Channel, acknowledged that some of packages originated in Florida. One official told AP that investigators are homing in on a postal facility in Opa-locka, Florida, where they believe some packages originated.
The package addressed to Booker was found during an oversight search of that facility, according to a law enforcement official.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name
Most of those targeted were past or present U.S. officials, but one was sent to actor Robert De Niro and billionaire George Soros. The bombs have been sent across the country - from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Rep. Maxine Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
The common thread among the bomb targets was obvious: their critical words for Trump and his frequent, harsher criticism in return.
Trump claimed Friday he was being blamed for the mail bombs, complaining in a tweet sent before dawn: “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!’”
The package to Clapper was addressed to him at CNN’s Midtown Manhattan address. Clapper, a frequent Trump critic, told CNN that he was not surprised he was targeted and that he considered the actions “definitely domestic terrorism.”
Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, said in a note to staff that all mail to CNN domestic offices was being screened at off-site facilities. He said there was no imminent danger to the Time Warner Center, where CNN’s New York office is located.
At a press conference Thursday, officials in New York would not discuss possible motives or details on how the packages found their way into the postal system. Nor would they say why the packages hadn’t detonated, but they stressed they were still treating them as “live devices.”
The devices were packaged in manila envelopes and carried U.S. postage stamps. They were being examined by technicians at the FBI’s forensic lab in Quantico, Virginia.
The packages stoked nationwide tensions ahead of the Nov. 6 election to determine control of Congress — a campaign both major political parties have described in near-apocalyptic terms. Politicians from both parties used the threats to decry a toxic political climate and lay blame.
Trump, in a tweet Thursday, blamed the “Mainstream Media” for the anger in society. Brennan responded, tweeting that Trump should “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror.”
The bombs are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and packed with powder and broken glass, according to a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.
The first bomb discovered was delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes. Soros has called Trump’s presidency “dangerous.”
Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman, Ken Thomas, Jill Colvin and Chad Day in Washington and Jim Mustian, Deepti Hajela, Tom Hays and Michael R. Sisak in New York contributed to this report.
For the AP’s complete coverage of the mail-bomb scare: https://apnews.com/PipeBombAttacks.