President Donald Trump was targeted by a package containing the deadly poison ricin, which was addressed and mailed to the White House but was intercepted by law enforcement earlier this week, it’s been reported.
The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the incident, CNN said, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials. Two tests were performed on the substance in the package, confirming that it contained ricin.
White House mail is screened at an off-site facility. The matter is being investigated by the US Secret Service and the FBI.
It is not the first time Trump has been targeted with ricin. Letters containing ricin ingredients were sent to the president and top military leaders at the Pentagon in 2018.
Those letters were also intercepted, and a Utah man, William Clyde Allen III, was charged with sending them. Actress Shannon Guess Richardson was convicted in 2014 of sending ricin-containing letters to President Barack Obama and then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The latest such incident comes amid heightened political tensions in the US and a vitriolic presidential election race. The stakes were made even higher on Friday, with the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ricin is a poison, made in either a liquid, powder or crystal form from the husks of castor beans. It blocks the body’s cells from making proteins, which causes them to die and leads to organ failure, a collapse of the circulatory system and possible death. It has been used in terror attacks. Two Islamic State supporters in Germany were arrested in 2018 for plotting a massive ricin attack.
News of the package sent to Trump instantly spurred concerns over escalating political violence in the US as the November presidential election approaches. While no suspect has yet been named by law enforcement agencies, many conservative activists quickly blamed the political left for the incident, saying it was an attempt to assassinate the president ahead of the election.