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Bomb sent to Robert De Niro, latest in wave of explosives sent to Trump critics
[NEW YORK] An explosive addressed to Robert De Niro was found Thursday morning at his production company in Lower Manhattan, the latest in a wave of similar devices sent to several prominent Democrats who have been have been the rhetorical targets of President Donald Trump and several right-wing figures.
A law enforcement official said the envelope and printed address labels were similar to those on explosives sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, and an X-ray showed it contained a similar device resembling a pipe bomb.
"This appears to be from the same sender," the official said.
Security personnel at De Niro's company, TriBeCa Productions, discovered the package about 5 am and called the New York Police Department, whose bomb squad responded, officials briefed on the matter said. It was removed about 6.30 am and taken to the Police Department's range in the Bronx for disposal.
Early Thursday, swarm of police vehicles and ambulances on standby choked the streets of the TriBeCa neighborhood just a block from the Hudson River. Police closed off several blocks around the building that houses the film company and Mr De Niro's restaurant. Flashing blue and red lights from dozens of patrol cars and SUVs cast a harsh glow on the faces of puzzled commuters arriving for work at the offices of Citibank a block away.
During the Tony Awards ceremony in June, Mr De Niro gave a speech in which he attacked the president with an obscenity, and a video of his comments was widely shared on social media.
On Wednesday, Mr Trump at first denounced the attempted bombings, saying at the White House, "We have to unify."
But at a nighttime rally in Wisconsin, he took a more pointed tone, criticizing the news media and Democrats even as he asked Americans to "come together in peace and harmony."
And Thursday morning, in a tweet that did not address the bombings directly, he blamed the media for the "Anger we see today in our society."
Federal, state and local investigators in New York, Washington, Florida and Los Angeles are involved in the widening case, which has not resulted in any injuries but has sent a shock through the nation's political and media establishments.
The first bomb was found on Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire advocate of liberal causes, in Westchester County, north of New York City.
On Wednesday, officials revealed that similar devices, all contained in manila envelopes, were sent to several people, including Mr Obama, Mrs Clinton, and Rep. Maxine Waters of California - all Democrats.
Another bomb, addressed to John O. Brennan, Obama's CIA director, was sent to the offices of CNN in Midtown Manhattan. And yet another was sent to Eric Holder, Jr, the attorney general under Mr Obama, but because it was addressed incorrectly, it went to the return address on the package - the offices of Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
None of the devices harmed anyone, and it was not immediately clear whether any of them could actually have exploded. It was also not clear whether they were the work of one person or multiple people.