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Trump blames bombs for halting GOP momentum
President Trump on Friday lamented that a series of apparent mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats is halting Republican "momentum" ahead of the midterm elections.
"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!" he tweeted.
The president's use of scare quotes around the word "bomb" appeared to reflect his skepticism about the story, which has dominated cable news for days.
Some of Trump's allies have suggested, without evidence, that the packages are part of a "false flag" operation by liberals to hurt Republicans ahead of next month's midterm elections.
Minutes after Trump's tweet, the Justice Department announced one person is under arrest in connection with the plot.
The president's latest message came hours after the discovery of two more packages suspected of containing explosives addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and James Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence under former President Obama.
That upped the number of suspicious packages sent to leading Democrats this week to 12, a string of events that some public officials, but not Trump, have described as "domestic terrorism."
Targets include Obama and Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential race, as well as lawmakers and former administration officials who have been critical of the president and have been attacked by him on Twitter and at his rallies.
Trump is making it clear he will remain focused on firing up his base rather than repeating calls for national unity in the days before the midterms, despite the package scares.
In a tweet sent at 3:14 a.m. Friday, Trump accused CNN of "blaming" him for the series of bomb scares.
"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!'" Trump wrote.
CNN received two packages containing apparent explosives addressed to Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, both of whom have appeared on the network.
CNN President Jeff Zucker on Wednesday released a statement slamming Trump and his White House staff, saying they have "a total and complete lack of understanding" of "the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."
Trump preached unity in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, but quickly resorted to blaming the media and Democrats after others made the case that his persistent and heated attacks on opponents have helped sow political divisions in the U.S.
The president tweeted Thursday that the "fake news" media was inciting anger, just one day after calling on people to "come together."
"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," Trump wrote. "It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!"
The president has long stoked conspiracy theories about his opponents, including that Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) father aided John F. Kennedy's assassin, that millions of people illegally cast ballots for Clinton in the 2016 election and that Obama was not, in fact, a natural-born U.S. citizen.
-- Updated at 11:11 a.m.