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‪Suspicious devices sent to politicians, news outlets‬

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN and others were intercepted Tuesday night and Wednesday in a rash of attacks two weeks before nationwide elections that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of President Donald Trump’s presidency.

The devices, which officials said shared a similar design, were aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticized by political conservatives. A similar device was found Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.

The bombs overtook other campaign news in an already-tense political season, which has included pitched fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and sexual violence against women.

The White House quickly condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and perceived foes of the administration.

“Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,” Trump said. “This egregious conduct is abhorrent.”

“That’s a very bipartisan statement,” he said.

All the confirmed bombs appeared to come from the same person or persons, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s head of intelligence and counterterrorism, who briefed reporters in New York.

The U.S. Secret Service intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton at the Chappaqua, New York, home she shares with former President Bill Clinton, and another that was sent to former President Obama at his home with Michelle Obama in Washington. A police bomb squad removed still another from CNN’s New York headquarters, which was evacuated.

Overhead TV shots showed a truck carrying that device, which law enforcement officials said was linked to the other explosives, being driven away. The package sent to CNN contained a live explosive and envelope with white powder, and officials said the substance was being tested to see if it was dangerous.

“We will not rest until we stop these hazardous devices from being mailed and bring the individual or individuals to justice,” said Bryan Paarmann, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official in New York.

The FBI also said it was responding to a report of a suspicious package at a Florida office of Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his office received a similar package, but New York police officials said the office was cleared and no device was found.

Cuomo said at a briefing that “we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives.”

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons’ home was linked to one found Monday at the Soros compound.

The official noted that one of the packages had the return address of Florida Rep. Schultz, a reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who was accused by Clinton rivals of secretly helping the party’s eventual presidential nominee.

Neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures, the Secret Service said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Two law enforcement officials, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the pipe bomb at CNN was crude but operational and was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who regularly appears as a television contributor and who has publicly clashed with Trump. They said it was similar to other explosives discovered in the past few days.

The device was mailed in an envelope to CNN’s offices on Columbus Circle using six stamps. It was compact, perhaps about the length of a wooden spoon, and contained wires and a black pipe, officials said.

Hillary Clinton was attending campaign events for Democrats in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and was not at the family’s New York residence at the time. Bill Clinton was at the family’s Chappaqua home at the time the package was intercepted Tuesday night at a Westchester County facility, said a person familiar with his schedule. The person said the device was screened at the facility — not in proximity to their residence — and never reached the Clintons’ home.

A law enforcement official told the AP that the package discovered at Soros’ home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a mailbox outside the gates of the compound. A Soros employee opened it just inside the gates, not near Soros’ quarters, the official said.

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Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington and Mike Sisak and Jim Mustian in New York contributed to this report.

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Trump Says He’ll Make a ‘Major Announcement’ Saturday Afternoon About Shutdown, Border

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Washington (AP) — Trump says he will make a ‘major announcement’ on Saturday afternoon about the government shutdown and border security.

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Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Migrants Than Previously Known

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The Trump Administration separated thousands more migrant kids from their families at the border than it previously acknowledged, and the separations started months before the policy was announced, according to a federal audit released Thursday morning.

“More children over a longer period of time” were separated at the border than commonly known, an investigator with the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office told reporters Thursday morning.

“How many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS” because of failures to track families as they were being separated, he said.

HHS officials involved in caring for the separated children and reunifying families estimated “thousands” of additional children are separated at the border, the inspector general said.

The report sheds new light on the Trump administration’s efforts to deter border crossings by separating migrant families. House Democrats who’ve condemned the separations as inhumane have vowed to investigate the administration’s handling of the policy and its health effects on separated children, and the inspector general said additional investigations are in the works.

The inspector general report said some family separations continued, even after President Donald Trump in June 2018 ended the policy amid uproar and a federal court ordered his administration to reunify the families. The June 2018 court order called on the administration to reunify about 2,500 separated children in government custody. Most of those families were reunited within 30 days.

However, HHS received at least 118 separated children between July and early November, according to the report. DHS provided “limited” information about the reason for those separations. In slightly more than half of those cases, border officials cited the parent’s criminal history as a reason to separate the families, although they did not always provide details. The court order requiring reunifications said family separations should only occur if border officials could specify when parents posed possible dangers to children or were otherwise unfit to care for them, the inspector general noted.

Federal investigators said they had no details about how many of the “thousands of separated children” who entered the care of HHS before the June 2018 court order had been reunited.

“We have no information about the status of the children who were released prior to the court order,” Maxwell told reporters. [POLITICO]

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Prince Phillip Involved in Car Crash

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#BREAKING Duke of Edinburgh involved in car crash near Sandringham Estate but not injured, Buckingham Palace says.

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