Bombs Target Democrats

At least 13 homemade pipe bombs were sent through the United States Postal Service, to political figures including past presidents and high-ranking federal officials. Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old from Florida, allegedly mailed the devices before his arrest last Friday.

The 13 confirmed targets include former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Additional explosives, including one addressed to former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., did not reach their suspected targets. The package intended for Holder arrived at an office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), former head of the Democratic National Committee, who was listed as the return address.

Sayoc, an adamant supporter of President Trump, has a criminal record using larceny, grand theft, and fraud. Sayoc’s previous arrests in Florida aided in his apprehension because DNA found on two of the explosives matched his on-record DNA sample.

In addition to DNA evidence, the FBI identified a fingerprint on the package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that matched Sayoc’s and misspellings in the written addresses that mimicked misspellings in Sayoc’s social media posts. Usingcellphone GPS tracking, police apprehended Sayoc near his white van adorned with pro-Trump political slogans. Following the arrest, the FBI continued to search for additional pipe bombs, more formally known as “IEDs,” or improvised explosive devices. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said, “We need all hands on deck; we need to stay vigilant.”

The first bomb discovered was addressed to George Soros, a billionaire investor and liberal political activist. According to law enforcement, a 14th explosive may have been destined for Tom Steyer, a significant donor to the Democratic party.  Regardless of Sayoc’s political position, President Donald Trump denies responsibility for the security threat. 

Also depicted on the van were slogans denouncing news outlet CNN. Two of the explosives were addressed to the news network. Former Director of National Intelligence and CNN contributor James R. Clapper Jr. said, “This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind … This is not going to silence the administration’s critics.”

According to The Washington Post, Sayoc faces five criminal charges: “transporting explosives across state lines, illegally mailing explosives, threatening former presidents and others, threatening interstate communications, [and] assaulting federal officials.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “We will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially not political violence. Let this be a lesson to anyone, regardless of their political beliefs, that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, [or] outright violence to further an agenda.”