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Biden, De Niro latest Trump critics to receive pipe bombs

By William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer and Richard Perez-Pena

Two additional pipe bombs, one addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and the other to actor Robert De Niro have been found, law enforcement officials said on Thursday, the latest in a wave of similar devices sent to several prominent Democrats who have been have been the rhetorical targets of President Donald Trump and several right-wing figures.

A law enforcement official said the envelope and printed address labels on the package sent to De Niro were similar to those on explosives sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, and an X-ray showed it contained a similar device resembling a pipe bomb.

“This appears to be from the same sender,” the official said.

The U.S. Postal Service records images of mail that comes into its system. Officials searched those images overnight and found several other suspicious packages, a law enforcement official said. It was not immediately clear how many they discovered.

The device sent to Biden was found at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Delaware, a law enforcement official said. Similar to the one sent to former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the envelope was misaddressed and was being redirected to the return sender written on the mailing label, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman.

Security personnel at De Niro’s company, TriBeCa Productions, discovered the package about 5 a.m. and called the New York Police Department, whose bomb squad responded, officials briefed on the matter said. It was removed about 6:30 a.m. and taken to the Police Department’s range in the Bronx for disposal.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said Thursday that an “eagle-eyed security employee” at TriBeCa Productions noticed similarities between the package and photos of envelopes that were discovered on Wednesday.

They have featured half-a-dozen first-class postage stamps on manila envelopes lined with Bubble Wrap and bearing return addresses with the name, misspelled, of Wasserman Schultz, who was once chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. The mailing labels were computer-printed.

Some packages, including the device delivered to CNN’s offices in New York, arrived by courier, a law enforcement official said. De Blasio said that the authorities did not know whether that meant the sender of the devices lived in the New York area.

“We certainly don’t know whether they are here or elsewhere in the country” de Blasio said on CNN on Thursday morning. “There is somebody by definition who is a serial bomber, yes, and a terrorist.”

The mayor said he did not know yet whether the package addressed to De Niro in Lower Manhattan on Thursday was hand-delivered by a courier or whether it arrived through the mail. In anticipation of additional packages being found on Thursday, the Police Department has deployed additional officers outside news media offices and elected official’s offices, de Blasio said.

De Niro, like the other recipients of packages, has been an outspoken critic of Trump. During the Tony Awards ceremony in June, he gave a speech in which he attacked the president with an obscenity, and a video of his comments was widely shared on social media.

On Wednesday, Trump at first denounced the attempted bombings, saying at the White House, “We have to unify.”

But at a nighttime rally in Wisconsin, he took a more pointed tone, criticizing the news media and Democrats even as he asked Americans to “come together in peace and harmony.”

And on Thursday morning, the president did not address the bombings directly, he blamed the media on Twitter for the “anger we see today in our society.”

Federal, state and local investigators in New York, Washington, Florida and Los Angeles are involved in the widening case, which has not resulted in any injuries but has sent a shock through the nation’s political and media establishments.

The first bomb was found on Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire advocate of liberal causes, in Westchester County, north of New York City.

On Wednesday, officials revealed that similar devices, all contained in manila envelopes, were sent to several people, including Obama, Clinton, and Rep. Maxine Waters of California – all Democrats.

Another bomb, addressed to John O. Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was sent to the offices of CNN in Midtown Manhattan. And yet another was sent to Eric H. Holder, Jr., the attorney general under Obama, but because it was addressed incorrectly, it went to the return address on the package – the offices of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

None of the devices harmed anyone, and it was not immediately clear whether any of them could actually have exploded. It was also not clear whether they were the work of one person or multiple people.

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