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Trump Blames Media for Inciting "Anger" After Bombs Sent to CNN & High-Profile Democrats

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Federal authorities have launched an investigation after pipe bombs were sent to a number of prominent Democrats, all critics of President Trump. The targets identified include President Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congressmember Maxine Waters and former CIA Director John Brennan. The packages listed Democratic Congressmember Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the return address. Police are also investigating a suspicious package sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and a suspicious package found at actor Robert De Niro's restaurant in New York. On Wednesday, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York office after it received what police described as a "live explosive device" along with a container of white powder. It came in a package addressed to Brennan.

All of the targets have been vilified by President Trump in the past. Authorities said it remains unclear if the devices were operable bombs or designed to look like bombs. No one has been hurt by the devices. We speak to former FBI agent Mike German and Chapman University professor Pete Simi, who has studied political violence for decades.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Federal authorities have launched an investigation after pipe bombs were sent to a number of prominent Democrats, all critics of President Trump. The targets identified include President Obama and Michelle Obama; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; George Soros, the billionaire liberal philanthropist; former Attorney General Eric Holder; Congressmember Maxine Waters; and former CIA Director John Brennan. The suspected bomb packages listed Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the return address in some cases. Police are also investigating a suspicious package sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and a suspicious package found at actor Robert De Niro's restaurant in New York. On Wednesday, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York offices after it received what police described as a "live explosive device" along with a container of white powder. It came in a package addressed to John Brennan. All of the targets have been vilified by President Trump in the past. Authorities said it remains unclear if the bomb devices were operable bombs or designed to look like bombs. No one has been hurt by the devices. This all comes less than two weeks before the midterm elections.

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On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump described the attempted bombings as, quote, "despicable acts," but later, at a campaign rally in Wisconsin, called on the media to stop what he called its "endless hostility."

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it.

AMY GOODMAN: At the Wisconsin rally, President Trump did not name any of the Democrats targeted.

Earlier this morning, Trump went on Twitter, quote, and wrote, "A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!" said Trump.

Trump has a long record of attacking CNN and inciting violence. Last year, he tweeted a video showing him tackling and punching a figure with a CNN logo over its face. On Wednesday, CNN President Jeff Zucker blasted President Trump, saying, quote, "There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that," Zucker said.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Flynn Jr., all suggested, without any evidence, that the suspected bombs were a false flag operation.

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We begin today's show with two guests. In New York, Mike German is in Democracy Now!'s studios, a fellow at Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law. From 1988 to 2004, he served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counter-terrorism. Here in Orange County, California, we're joined by Peter Simi, professor of sociology at Chapman University. He's studied extremist groups and violence for the past 20 years, co-author of the book American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let's begin with Mike German in New York. We don't know who has done this. The list of people -- and we hear added to the list of the Obamas, the Clintons, Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder, George Soros, Maxine Waters, maybe today Joe Biden, the former vice president. While we don't know who has done this, Mike German, it looks like a Trump hit list. He did not mention the names last night and didn't -- did attack the media, despite the fact that CNN got one of these packages. Your thoughts today?

MIKE GERMAN: Right. Well, I do appreciate the caution in attributing any blame at this point. There's a lot of work for the FBI and other law enforcement partners to do before we can do that. But, obviously, just looking at the target list, this is sort of the prominent people in the recent culture war.

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