WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed today that though authorities are still analyzing 14 explosive devices sent to a variety of Democratic targets, “these are not hoax devices.”
“Each device consisted of roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material, which is essentially potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction,” Wray said at a Justice Department press conference.
“Today’s arrest doesn’t mean we’re all out of the woods,” he added. “There may be other packages in transit now… So we need the help of everyone out there, every citizen, everyone in law enforcement, everyone we’ve got to help with this investigation in the days to come.”
Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., today at an Auto Zone in Plantation, Fla.; he did not work there. He allegedly left a fingerprint on one of the devices and DNA on two devices. His record includes eight previous arrests, including for threatening to bomb the Florida Power and Light Co. in 2002 in an attack promised to be “worse than September 11th.”
New packages were intercepted today at a Burlingame, Calif., post office addressed to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and billionaire Tom Steyer, who has been leading an online campaign to impeach the president. A package addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was received at CNN headquarters in New York. A package addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was intercepted in Florida.
They join recipients George Soros, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Waters and Biden each had two packages mailed to them.
“I figured that John got one and I wouldn’t be far behind,” Clapper told CNN this afternoon.
Sayoc had active social media accounts and attended Trump rallies. His most recent tweet, posted Wednesday, criticized Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum for being “backed by George Soros.”
Sayoc was reportedly not known to the Secret Service before this arrest. Currently charged with five federal counts related to threats against officials and mailing explosives, he faces up to 58 years in prison.
At the Young Black Leadership Summit in D.C. today, President Trump called the arrest “an incredible job by law enforcement” and added that “these terrorizing acts are despicable, and have no place in our country.”
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America — cannot let it happen, and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it, and to stop it now, to stop it now,” Trump said. “…But a bottom line is that Americans must unify, and we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens.”
At the Justice Department press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that “this is a law-and-order administration” and “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 and outright violence to further an agenda,” he added. “We will find you. We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Could you tell us plainly, why was he targeting Democrats?” a reporter asked.
“I don’t know, other than what you might normally expect. He may have been a part — appears to be a partisan, but that would be determined by the facts as the case goes forward, and I’m not able to comment on that,” Sessions replied.