Trump Confirms Arrest in Package Bomb Case as Targets Mount
“We will prosecute … whoever it may be to the furthest extent of the law,” president says
Updated 12:53 p.m. | Federal authorities have arrested a man in Florida in connection with a string of suspicious devices that were mailed to prominent Democrats and CNN.
Trump confirmed the arrest Friday, saying he was “committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop” politically motivated violent acts.
“We will prosecute … whoever it may be to the furthest extent of the law,” he said.
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America. We cannot let it happen,” he said. “The bottom line is Americans must unify.”
Florida authorities announced about an hour earlier that they had arrested a Plantation, Florida, man in connection with the case. News outlets caught law enforcement officials on camera placing a blue tarp on a white van and towing it away from an auto parts store.
The man in custody reportedly is in his 50s and has a criminal history, as well as ties to New York — where several of the packages were mailed — but further details are not yet available. The Justice Department will announce more information regarding the arrest at a press conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Several news organizations have reported that the suspect is Cesar Sayoc Jr., a registered Republican with a criminal background.
Trump congratulated law enforcement officials, calling them “the best in the world.” His remarks appeared to confirm that the suspect acted with a political motivation.
Two packages were recovered Friday, one in Florida addressed to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and another in New York addressed to James R. Clapper Jr., the Obama-era director of national intelligence.
Other packages, all mailed in manila envelopes with Forever stamps, were sent to Democratic megadonor George Soros, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., actor Robert DeNiro and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
The package intended for Holder did not reach its intended destination, but was rerouted to the return address, listed as Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district office in Florida. While the contents of the packages resemble bombs, none have exploded so far.
A possible 13th package is under investigation in Sacramento, California. It was addressed to the state’s junior Democratic senator, Kamala Harris.
Packages discovered earlier this week have been under forensic investigation at the FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.
Many of the bomb targets have clashed with Trump in the past. The president has derided Waters as a “low IQ person” and retweeted conspiracy theories about Soros. At an awards ceremony in June, DeNiro said “F— Trump” during a rant.
Booker drew national attention last month during heated confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and is seen as a contender for the presidency in 2020.
Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.