Suspect Arrested for Sending Bombs to Trump’s Opponents in Mail
The FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc Jr. on Oct. 26 for allegedly mailing 14 explosive devices to critics of President Donald J. Trump. The targets included former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), actor Robert De Niro and former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and at CNN’s New York offices. None of the bombs detonated, and some were intercepted in mail sorting facilities, including two intended for U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), according to CNN. Sayoc, 56, is from Florida and has a criminal history, including a felony for making a bomb threat to a power company in 2002, according to NPR. Sayoc’s social media accounts reveal that he is a Trump supporter, and that he often targeted Democrats who Trump publicly criticized, according to NBC News. Sayoc faces up to 48 years in prison on five federal charges, including illegal mailing of explosives, threats against a former president and assaulting federal officers, according to The Washington Post. Trump condemned the attempted attacks while speaking at the White House on Oct. 24, saying “in these times, we have to unify.” In a tweet written on Wednesday shortly before Sayoc’s arrest, Trump said the news has reduced Republican momentum leading into the midterm elections. In wake of the mail bombs, CNN President Jeff Zucker said “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.”
Abrams, Kemp Debate
Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams (D) and Brian Kemp (R) faced off on Oct. 23 in the first of two televised debates before the Nov. 6 election. The candidates sparred over issues such as health care, immigration, voting rights and personal finance history. Abrams highlighted how Kemp’s office has allegedly suppressed black voters in the state, which Kemp called a “farce.” Kemp called Abrams’ positions, particularly on health care and immigration, an “extreme agenda” that is out of touch with a conservative Georgia. In response to a question about Abrams’ flag-burning controversy, the Democratic candidate said she was “appalled by the racial divisiveness” of the Confederate symbol in the flag, and she stands by her peaceful protest. Kemp and Abrams disagreed on whether Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients should be allowed to attend Georgia’s top state colleges and be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship. Abrams supports offering scholarship funds to DACA recipients, while Kemp does not. Kemp also accused Abrams of encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote, referring to an Oct. 9 campaign speech in which Abrams described “the blue wave” as including those who are “documented and undocumented.” Abrams denied encouraging illegal voting, saying, “I have never, in my life, asked for anyone who is not legally eligible to vote to cast a ballot.” The next debate will be held on Nov. 4.
Lion Air Crashes with 189 on Board
An Indonesian passenger jet carrying 189 people crashed on Monday into the Java Sea 13 minutes after departing from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia. Flight JT 610 had requested to return to the airport before disappearing from the radar, according to CNBC. No distress signal was sent and the plane’s main wreckage and black box have yet to be found, according to USA Today. The reason for the crash is unknown. Indonesian rescuers have found six bodies and other human remains as of Tuesday night, according to CNN.
Far Right Populist Bolsonaro Wins Presidential Election in Brazil
Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, as its next president, according to BBC News. Bolsonaro is a seven-term congressman backed by the military, conservatives and a number of Brazilians who are frustrated with corruption and high crime rates, according to the Times. Bolsonaro said in his victory speech that he would preserve democratic institutions, although he previously declared himself “in favor of a dictatorship,” arguing that Brazil “will never resolve serious national problems with this irresponsible democracy.”
Merkel Announces She Will Not Run for Re-Election
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday she will not seek re-election in 2021 in a meeting with leaders of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), according to The New York Times. The announcement comes days after an election in Hesse, Germany, that drew only 27 percent support for the CDU, continuing a years-long trend of the declining popularity of the party. Merkel has been the chairman of the CDU since 2000. The conservative party will hold a two-day conference starting on Dec. 6 to elect a new executive board and leader, according to the Times.