Authorities discover explosive devices sent to Booker, Clapper

Law enforcement officials have discovered a suspicious package addressed to Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-N.J.) at a mailing facility in Opa-Locka, Fla., and another one addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Schiff: Barr 'weaponizing' DOJ 'to go after the president's enemies' MORE in a facility in New York City.

The devices mark the 11th and 12th that have been discovered since the beginning of the week. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Other devices have been sent to Democratic donor George Soros, former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE, former President Obama, former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Obama celebrates 'great night for our country' after Democrats' victories in Virginia and Kentucky MORE, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanTrump bemoans 'double standard' in Stone conviction The curious timeline for taking down Trump Brennan: Russian election interference 'changed the mind of at least one voter' MORE at the CNN offices in New York, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: House passes monthlong stopgap | Broader spending talks stall | Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns | Progressives ramp up attacks on private equity Federal regulators clear BB&T-SunTrust merger, creating sixth-largest US bank Progressive Democrats ramp up attacks on private equity MORE (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE and actor Robert De Niro.

“We are responding to a report of a suspicious package in the vicinity of West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue, #Manhattan. Please avoid the area and expect a police presence and heavy traffic. More information to follow,” the New York Police Department posted on Twitter.

“As of right now police are working at the post office facility on 52nd street that discovered a suspicious package that closely resembled others that were sent across the country in recent days,” an NYPD spokesperson told The Hill, adding that the emergency service unit and bomb squad are on the scene.

CNN reported that the explosive device found in New York City was addressed to be delivered to Clapper at the CNN offices in Manhattan. Clapper is a contributor for the network.

The NYPD confirmed to The Hill that Clapper was the intended recipient of the package.

Both Booker and Clapper are frequent critics of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE. Booker has opposed the White House on nearly all of its policy initiatives and is widely considered to be a possible presidential candidate in 2020. Clapper too has criticized the president’s rhetoric, and Trump previously floated the idea of revoking Clapper’s security clearance. 

“I think anyone who has in any way publicly been a critic of President Trump needs to be on extra alert and take precautions with respect to mail,” Clapper said in an appearance on CNN after the package addressed to him was discovered. “At the same time, we shouldn’t get too overblown about it, too overwrought about it ... at this point. I have a lot of confidence in all the law enforcement elements involved in this.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Trump "is receiving constant information as it is available" about the latest suspicious packages.

Trump weighed in on the news reports in a Friday morning tweet, saying it was “very unfortunate” that the packages were dominating the news cycle instead of the midterm elections.

No explosive devices have yet gone off and no injuries have been reported involving the packages.

The news comes as reports surfaced Thursday that federal authorities believe several devices were sent from mailing facilities in South Florida. 

FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney during a press briefing in New York on Thursday afternoon declined to comment on the reports linking the explosives to Florida.

The packages have sparked a national conversation over the divisiveness of America’s current political rhetoric and a bipartisan call for both sides to ease tensions.

“This is a political year, it’s a political season. We are weeks from an election, and that’s obviously in the air and that’s an obvious fact," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday. "But we’ve been through many political seasons and we have political differences and that’s actually good for democracy."

Cuomo spoke during a briefing on the package sent to Brennan, which forced the evacuation of CNN's offices on Wednesday.

Trump has condemned the suspected explosive devices and issued a call for unity on Wednesday.

"We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,” Trump said at a White House event.

The president, however, lashed out at CNN in an early morning tweet Friday, accusing the network of "blaming" him for the suspicious packages.

Clapper asserted in his appearance on CNN that the president does bear “some responsibility” to the “uncivility in the dialogue in this country.”

“As far as the president’s concerned, and again this is purely a fantasy because he’s already made it clear he’s not going to do this and I’m not suggesting a clear cause and effect relationship ... but I do think he bears some responsibility of the coarseness and uncivility in the dialogue in this country and he needs to remember that his words count, his voice is the most important in this country,” Clapper said.

Updated at 10:26 a.m.