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story.lead_photo.caption FBI agents replace a tarp Friday that fell off the van involved in the mail-bomb investigation as the vehicle was being transported from Plantation, Fla.

Federal authorities made an arrest Friday in the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, a significant breakthrough in a case that has gripped the country in the days leading up to the midterm elections.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., just north of Miami.

The arrest came even as the crude pipe bombs continued to appear across the country. One, found in Florida, was addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; another, discovered in a Manhattan post office, was sent to James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence; and a third was intercepted before it reached Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

A fourth bomb, found Friday in a mail facility in California, was addressed to Tom Steyer, a prominent Democratic donor, a person close to him said.

At a news conference Friday afternoon in Washington, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Sayoc had been charged with five counts, including illegal mailing of explosives and making threats against former presidents. According to a criminal complaint released as Sessions spoke, the packages included photographs of intended targets, each marked with a red X.

When asked why Sayoc purportedly had sent the bombs to Democrats, Sessions said he was not sure, adding that the suspect "appears to be a partisan."

The five charges carry a potential 58 years in total jail time if Sayoc is convicted, Sessions said.

Federal officials said they had tracked down Sayoc, who has a lengthy arrest history, after finding one of his fingerprints on a package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Sayoc's identity was confirmed, the officials added, after investigators found a match between DNA samples discovered on two other packages and DNA that was collected during one of his previous arrests.

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, said the bureau was still trying to determine if the bombs were "functional" but also noted that they contained "energetic material" that could be dangerous. Wray said that the investigation was "active and ongoing" and cautioned that there could be more bombs still undiscovered.

Sayoc likely will be held over the weekend and have his first appearance in Miami federal court on Monday.

Wray declined to say if Sayoc is cooperating with investigators.

Sayoc is a registered Republican whose arrest record in Florida dates to 1991 and includes felony theft, drug and fraud charges, as well as allegations that he threatened to use a bomb, public records show.

Sayoc was arrested around 11 a.m. Friday at an AutoZone shop in Plantation, Fla., about 20 miles from Aventura, officials said. Patrol cars shut down the surrounding streets, leaving rows of businesses inaccessible for part of the morning. Authorities also seized and towed away Sayoc's white van.

Some residents of Aventura reported seeing a similar white van, the windows of which were plastered with a thick collage of pro-Trump stickers, often parked in the lot of a strip mall, the Aventura Waterways shopping center. Photos of the van showed that one of the stickers depicted Trump standing in front of flames and the American flag. Another was of Hillary Clinton's face in the cross hairs of a rifle scope. A third said: "CNN Sucks."

"It struck me because of the crazy conspiratorial stickers covering the windows," said David Cypkin, a documentary film producer and editor with the Rakontur production company. "It was unsettling, and also it seemed to be occupied. Sometimes the door would be ajar or a window would be open, which indicated to me that maybe somebody was living in the van."

Speaking Friday at the White House, Trump praised law enforcement officials for quickly arresting a suspect.

"These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country," he said.

"We must never allow political violence to take root in America and I'm committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it and stop it now," he added.

Later Friday, speaking with reporters on the South Lawn before he left for a political rally in North Carolina, Trump said he knows the suspect was a supporter, but said he bears "no blame" for the suspect's actions.

"There is no blame," he said.

He compared the series of threatening packages to how a Democratic supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders shot up a GOP baseball field last year, seriously injuring Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

One law enforcement official said that Sayoc was expected to be questioned under what is known as the national-security exception, meaning that he can be interviewed at least initially without the presence of a lawyer.

The package addressed to Clapper was meant to be delivered to the New York offices of CNN, where he works as an analyst, but was intercepted at a mail facility in midtown Manhattan, police officials in New York City said. The package addressed to Booker was found in Florida, which two people briefed on the matter have said has become a focus of the intense, nationwide investigation into the bombs.

Clapper appeared on CNN shortly after news broke that a package was addressed to him, saying he felt relief no one was harmed by that device.

"This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind," he said. Clapper said anyone who has criticized Trump should take extra precautions when handling their mail, adding: "This is not going to silence the administration's critics."

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was also a target of one of the packages, took a moment during a Democratic political rally Friday in Hartford, Conn., to speak about "all the pipe bombs, the sense of hate and terror that seems to be gripping us."

He quoted passages from the W.B. Yeats poem "The Second Coming," including the line, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold."

Biden said, "I hope and pray that our leaders are prepared to lower the temperature of our public dialogue," suggesting, "We just have to remember who we are and what we stand for as a nation."

All together, 13 explosive devices have been found since Monday, sent through the mail to a host of Democrats and other prominent figures who have been among Trump's most vocal detractors. The packages -- virtually identical in plain manila envelopes -- have been addressed to former President Barack Obama; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Waters; former Attorney General Eric Holder; John Brennan, a former CIA director, actor Robert De Niro; and George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor.

All of the envelopes had return address labels bearing the misspelled name of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat whose district is in southern Florida. None of the devices inside has exploded on their own so far, and investigators are still seeking to determine whether they were even capable of detonating. But authorities in New York and elsewhere have warned that the devices should be considered dangerous.

While investigators initially thought that some devices were hand-delivered, they now believe it is likely all of them were sent in the mail. Using information collected by the Postal Service, investigators focused their attention on certain Florida postal centers, including one in Opa-locka near Miami.

Information for this article was contributed by William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer and Adam Goldman of The New York Times; by Jay Weaver, David Ovalle, Alex Harris, Charles Rabin, Martin Vassolo, Colleen Wright, Rene Rodriguez and Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald; by Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman, Matt Zapotosky, Julie Tate, Alice Crites, John Wagner, Seung Min Kim and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. of The Washington Post; and by staff members of The Associated Press.

FBI Director Christopher Wray (left) chats with Attorney General Jeff Sessions before a news conference Friday at the Department of Justice in Washington.
Photo by Broward County Sheriff
Cesar Sayoc
Photo by AP/Newsday/CRAIG RUTTLE
A New York Police Department bomb unit member holds a case Friday containing a suspicious package discovered at a post office in midtown Manhattan.
FBI agent Sean Regan talks about the explosive device addressed to U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris that was found Friday at a Sacramento, Calif., post office.

A Section on 10/27/2018

Print Headline: Mail-bomb suspect nabbed; Florida man described as ‘a partisan’


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  • RBear
    October 27, 2018 at 7:13 a.m.

    It is through the good work of our nation's law enforcement agencies that this criminal was apprehended and will face justice now. It seems he just kept sending these packages containing explosive material throughout the week and hopefully all of them have been recovered. Based on the information shared, his motives were clear and his motivation just as clear. The targets of his attacks were the targets of vitriol from our president who doesn't understand the tone he uses can incite people in bad ways.
    Trump is a reality TV show host and someone who thrived on sensationalism throughout life. He doesn't seem to understand the tone of public discourse, something we have had to deal with since he first came on the campaign trail. That tone carries forward in the comments in here by many of his minions (def: a servile dependent, follower, or underling) who don't see a problem with calling people deviant, mentally ill, or depraved for a progressive ideology.
    What makes this incident even more disgusting is the two days of false flag comments by those on the right who feel this was more about winning an election than dealing with the tone of conversation. Even AFTER the individual was arrested, several, including Trump, were more concerned about how this would impact the mid-terms than addressing the root cause that drove Sayoc to his actions.
    Many of us on the progressive side held back, preferring to allow the investigators to finish their work. However, several on the right sought to push the false flag narrative promoted, not by credible media sources, but by sensational right wing commentators who are more concerned about pushing the false narrative than looking for truth.
    Even with the information revealed, I don't see the right wing rhetoric being toned down. Many in here and across the country just don't understand what a conversation is. They prefer to use terms such as "dims" and "dumbocrats" and calling credible media sources as fake news, following the lead of Trump. Trump is going to deflect and divert on this issue as he does quite often.
    The trolls in here will come back with the same rhetoric and I'm not expecting differences. Some have even amped it up with ludicrous, baseless comments. Nothing will change. All I can look forward to is the mid-term election where the House will flip.

  • GandKW
    October 27, 2018 at 7:22 a.m.

    He should have his TV taken away.

  • jaywills
    October 27, 2018 at 7:36 a.m.

    Nice looking silkscreened "window stickers" on his van. Very professional looking.

  • BoudinMan
    October 27, 2018 at 8:13 a.m.

    Lou Dobbs, Fox, labeled them "fake bombs." Rush Limbaugh noted that the window decals on the suspect's van were too neatly aligned. Must be a set up. The kicker was when trump put quotation marks around the word bomb in a tweet. This is what triggers the lunacy on the right.

  • 23cal
    October 27, 2018 at 8:24 a.m.

    Sorry, false flag fetishists. Better luck at the Bigfoot Hunt.

    a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
    "four commercial aircraft were hijacked by terrorists"
    synonyms: extremist, fanatic; More
    unlawfully using violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

    Can we start using terrorist to describe the bomber now? Seriously, is there anyone so dense they don't know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if this guy had been a Muslim and the bombs had been mailed to Republicans that they would be calling for deporting every Muslim---oops! Uh, "terrorist"----in the country?

    Folks, this is PURE domestic terrorism. We have not yet, and will not, see the president or any conservatives/Republicans referring to it as terrorism. The right wing news cycle representing this administration will be downplaying and quieting and distracting full court.

    Put on your hip waders and get ready for the flood of excuses and justifications for why the words "terrorist", "Trump", "motivated by", and "enabled" don't apply here.

  • Morebeer
    October 27, 2018 at 8:47 a.m.

    Trump's now advocating "bombs not mobs!"

  • GeneralMac
    October 27, 2018 at 9:29 a.m.

    When this nut got convicted of a bomb threat in 2002, it was reported his van was " plastered with Native American stickers"

    Would you Ultra-liberals have held the Native Americans responsible for those bomb threats ?

  • 23cal
    October 27, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.

    I have proof that one of the bomb recipients is a PAID ACTOR!!!!! You know how the wingers have been making this claim without proof or even evidence in a number of violence incidents, that those involved are "paid actors"? Well, I can PROVE it this time.

    The guy's name is Robert De Niro. Look him up.

    Checkmate, Liberals.

  • RBear
    October 27, 2018 at 10:05 a.m.

    In 2002, Sayoc's charge of a bomb threat was at Florida P&L over a pricey bill and had nothing to do with his fantasy that he was a member of the Seminole tribe. The two attributes are unrelated. Sayoc's former lawyer and family friend, Ron Lowry, said Sayoc imagined he was a member of the Seminole tribe. From the Miami Herald, "Sayoc’s claim of affiliation with the Seminole Tribe of Florida was an example of Sayoc’s desire for a sense of belonging. He said Sayoc used to drive a vehicle plastered with Seminole Tribe and Native American stickers and showed him a scrapbook filled with photos of Sayoc as an exotic dancer and aspiring pro wrestler." It wasn't related to the pipe bomb charge against FPL.
    The incident this past week involved attributes that ARE linked. Sayoc had an obsession with Trump to the point he would make statements in social media, plaster his van with stickers that were pro-Trump, and then acted on the incendiary language promoted by Trump and others. When Trump says it's okay to body slam a reporter, an irrational act, that's pretty much giving license to people like Sayoc to act irrationally.

  • PopMom
    October 27, 2018 at 10:15 a.m.