Robert De Niro sent suspicious package in New York

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Robert De Niro sent suspicious package in New York

Updated

October 25, 2018 23:09:45

A New York City police bomb squad has removed a suspicious package from a Manhattan building associated with actor Robert De Niro.

A law enforcement source said the device appeared to be linked to the others sent to Democratic figures and CNN’s New York City hub.

The package looked similar to the others and had a similar device inside, the source said.

The NYPD says the device was taken from 375 Greenwich Street in the Tribeca neighbourhood around 6:30am (local time).

A bomb squad unit drove in a convoy through the city after leaving the neighbourhood.

None of the eight devices went off and no injuries were reported, but some top Democrats have called the threats a symptom of a coarsening brand of political rhetoric promoted by President Donald Trump, who also condemned the acts.

All the targets are frequently maligned by right-wing critics, including former president Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Mr Obama’s attorney-general Eric Holder.

Former CIA director John Brennan, prominent Democratic Party donor George Soros and California representative Maxine Waters, an outspoken critic of Mr Trump, were also targets.

After Oscar-winning actor De Niro’s expletive-laden attack on the President at the Tony Awards in June, Mr Trump called him a “very lowIQ individual”.

The bomb packages were sent as the nation prepares for November 6 elections that will decide whether Democrats take control of one or both houses of Congress from Republicans and deny Mr Trump the majority his party now holds in both.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

An FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies “will continue to work to identity and arrest whosoever is responsible for sending these packages,” FBI director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

‘An attack on our democracy’

Several politicians, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and New York mayor Bill de Blasio, described it as an act of terrorism.

Investigators were trying to track down another suspicious parcel they believe was addressed to Mr Obama’s vice-president, Joe Biden, a federal official told Reuters.

The CNN bureau in New York received a package addressed to Mr Brennan, who has appeared as an on-air CNN analyst, leading police to evacuate the Time Warner building in a busy Manhattan neighbourhood near Central Park.

The package contained an envelope of white powder that experts were analysing, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Mr Trump told a political rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday his Government would conduct “an aggressive investigation”.

“Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself,” Mr Trump said.

“We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony.”

He also said the media had a responsibility “to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories”.

Last week, Mr Trump, who has joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of encouraging “mob” tactics, heaped praise on a Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter in 2017.

At an event in Texas on Wednesday, Mr Brennan criticised Mr Trump for frequent inflammatory rhetoric.

Envelopes carrying ‘potentially destructive devices’

The first package, which turned up on Monday (local time), was addressed to Mr Soros, the billionaire financier and advocate of liberal, open-border values who is a frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theories.

The parcel intended for Mr Holder ended up rerouted to the return address printed on all the packages — the Florida office of US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who formerly chaired the Democratic National Committee, according to the FBI.

The FBI said late on Wednesday it had confirmed that two additional packages, similar in appearance to the others, were addressed to Ms Waters.

An FBI statement said the other packages consisted of a manila envelope with a bubble-wrap interior containing “potentially destructive devices”.

Each bore a computer-printed address label and six “Forever” postage stamps.

Other officials said the devices contained in the envelopes were all similar to one found in the mailbox of the Soros home and later detonated by police.

At least one bomb was packed with shards of glass, one federal source said.

ABC/Reuters

First posted

October 25, 2018 22:06:12

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