A man was arrested in Plantation, Florida, Friday morning in connection with a string of pipe bomb packages mailed to prominent Democratic figures. Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores confirmed on Twitter that a suspect was in custody and the DOJ will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET with developments on the case.
Shortly after the announcement, CNN broadcasted a live feed of the parking lot where Cesar Sayoc — a 56-year-old registered Republican who lives in Aventura, Florida — was taken into custody. Authorities there were towing a white van covered in bumper stickers, including oversized decal of President Trump on the van’s rear-side window. It was unclear whether the van belonged to the suspect.
Public records show Sayoc has a lengthy criminal record, with charges ranging from traffic infractions to petty larceny, grand theft, and, in 2002, a “threat to throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device.”
Shortly after Sayoc’s arrest was confirmed on Friday, President Trump said in remarks at the White House: “These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country. We must never allow political violence to take root in America.”
Law enforcement agencies confirmed that two more pipe bomb packages were found Friday, bringing the total number to 12. Multiple news agencies are now reporting that the suspect is being questioned after forensic evidence linked him to the packages.
Targets have included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, former CIA director John Brennan, former attorney general Eric Holder, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Robert De Niro and billionaire donor George Soros.
The packages found on Friday were addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and James Clapper, director of national intelligence under Obama. Booker has become a recent fixture of Trump’s speeches; the president assailed New Jersey senator as recently as Monday, at a rally in Houston. “The mayor who did one of the worst jobs of any mayor (other than the guy running for governor in Florida),” Trump said, fitting in a dig at another black politician, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is currently running for governor. “Cory Booker. He destroyed what he did, he was so bad.” The line was nearly verbatim of one he deployed a few weeks earlier, at a rally in Mississippi, also about Booker.
Clapper, whose security clearance Trump has contemplated revoking, said on CNN Friday morning that Trump needs to come to terms with his role in these events. “I do think he bears some responsibility for the coarseness and incivility of the dialogue in this country and he needs to remember that his words count, his voice is the most important in this country, and for that matter, the world. And he should think about that in the way he addresses the country,” Clapper said. (Like the package addressed to Brennan, the Clapper package was sent to CNN’s New York bureau.)
Trump, however, did not seem inclined to follow Clappers advice. Shortly after Clapper made his appeal, the president tweeted balefully, “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!”
That tweet followed another from the president, issued around 3 a.m. ET Friday morning criticizing CNN, which was evacuated on Wednesday, after one bomb was delivered to its mailroom. “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!”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.