It looks like we can add Joe Biden and Robert De Niro to the list of targets of the person or persons who have been sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats after more suspicious devices were intercepted Thursday. That brings the count to at least nine devices so far since Monday, reports the New York Times. The latest developments:
- De Niro: Law enforcement sources tell CNN that a suspicious package sent to a Manhattan building that houses De Niro's Tribeca Grill restaurant and his production company's office matches the pipe bomb packages intercepted this week. An official tells NBC that a worker at the building in the Tribeca neighborhood called police at around 4am after seeing news reports and recalling having spotted the package a day or two ago. De Niro is a prominent critic of President Trump.
- Biden: NBC News reports that authorities in Delaware found two devices addressed to the former vice president, one at a postal facility in New Castle and the other at a postal facility in Wilmington.
- Blame game: President Trump on Thursday again blamed the media for the current political climate. "A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News," he tweeted Thursday. "It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!"
- "Treasure trove of evidence." Federal investigators hunting the bomber are likely to have plenty of clues to work with, experts say. The devices—pipe bombs packed with shards of glass—are likely to yield a "treasure trove" of DNA evidence, and investigators will also be tracking the source of the components. "If there is a human involved, there is a high probability you're going to get somewhere investigatively," Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the Secret Service, tells the AP. "There will be no stone left unturned."
- "Crudely built devices." The New York Times reports that with the De Niro package, investigators have now found at least eight "crudely built devices" in manila envelopes. None of the devices have harmed anybody, and one official says investigators are looking at the possibility that the devices could not have exploded on their own. A source tells the AP that the devices, packed with powder and broken glass, are about six inches long and contain a small battery.
- CNN chief slams Trump's "lack of understanding." CNN president Jeff Zucker slammed the Trump White House hours after one of the devices forced an evacuation of CNN's New York offices. "There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media," Zucker said, per the Hollywood Reporter. "The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."
- The common thread. The Washington Post reports that the "unmistakable" common theme among the targets, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, and Maxine Waters, is that they have been targets of Trump attacks. Lawmakers on both sides have denounced the attacks, though some Republicans, incuding Sen. Orrin Hatch, declined to blame Trump's rhetoric, "I don’t see anything really wrong with the president," he said. "I think that, you know, he’s in a tough position, he’s attacked on all sides and he ought to be able to express himself."
- Conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories about the devices are flourishing among some Trump supporters who claim they are "false flag" attacks aimed at discrediting Republicans, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Investigators need to take a serious look at far left groups like #Antifa when investigating the bombs sent to Soros, Obama, and the Clintons," media personality John Cardillo wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "These smell like the false flag tactics of unhinged leftists who know they're losing."
(Trump said Wednesday night that the media needs to "set a civil tone."