No mics: CNN reports from cellphones as explosive device forces evacuation

October 24, 2018
Category: Business & Work

Standing in the streets by New York's Columbus Center, CNN reporters tried to make sense of the string of explosive devices that had targeted Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their own newsroom.

CNN's Poppy Harrow and Jim Sciutto, evacuated from the New York bureau while a bomb squad worked inside, spoke live from their cellphones at times in describing the attempted series of attacks on Democratic leaders and funders and their own shop. CBS News, just blocks away, offered space and help for the evacuated reporters, and The Wall Street Journal also offered assistance. 

Within hours, explosive devices were reported that targeted former Attorney General Eric Holder and the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Another device was addressed to the Washington office of Rep. Maxine Waters of California, a frequent Trump target. In what turned out to be a false alarm, people were evacuated after suspicious packages were seen outside a building that housed the San Diego Union-Tribune and the offices of Sen. Kamala Harris.

Today's CNN package, as well as one found two days earlier in the mailbox of Democratic funder George Soros, both contained a printed return address for Wasserman Schultz. On the street, Sciutto also tweeted out news breaks, including that the CNN package was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan. He also tweeted this image:

pipe bomb

The AP, quoting authorities, said the same person likely also sent the pipe bombs to Obama and Clinton. Authorities said the Soros bomb had a detonator, and could have killed or maimed a person had it gone off nearby.

Vice President Mike Pence described the attacks as "cowardly," and the White House issued a statement that called them "despicable." On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump said: "Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States." 

Said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: "This clearly is an act of terror attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence." He urged American leaders to tone down heated rhetoric and demonization of political opponents and the press. “Don’t encourage attacks on the media," de Blasio said. "That is contributing to the choices people are making. There’s no question about it.”

Alexander Soros, the son of financier (and Holocaust survivor) George Soros, agreed. "We must find our way to a new political discourse that shuns the demonization of all political opponents," he wrote in The New York Times. "And we must do it now, before it is too late."

Both Trump and Clinton spoke of unity.

"In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together,” Trump said. “That’s a very bipartisan statement.”

Clinton, helping candidates in Florida, said: "It is a troubling time, isn't it? … We have to do everything we can to bring our country together. We also have to elect candidates who will do the same."