Oct 26, 2018

Axios PM

Good afternoon ...

1 big thing: What we know about the mail bomb suspect

Mugshot via Broward County Sheriff's Office

The man who's suspected of sending 13 pipe bombs to Democrats and other critics of President Trump has a lengthy criminal history and financial troubles, and "appears to be a partisan," according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Driving the news: At an afternoon press conference, Sessions said Cesar Sayoc faces five federal charges and as much as 58 years in prison in connection with the mail bombs.

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that it may not be over — there's no guarantee that other bombs aren't in transit.
  • How he was caught: Wray said Sayoc was identified through a fingerprint on one package and through possible DNA samples on two of the bombs.

Sayoc's Facebook feed was "a mishmash of pro-Trump news stories, racist memes and fake news about Democrats. Popular targets include Islam ... and Hillary Clinton," the Miami Herald reports.

  • He stopped posting in October 2016 after "multiple video posts from a Trump rally."
  • The van taken into custody after his arrest was covered in political stickers, some displaying images of Trump and Vice President Pence.
  • One says: "CNN sucks."

What we know:

  • Sayoc is 56, originally from Brooklyn, grew up in Florida, and now lives in Aventura, north of Miami.
  • Sayoc had "a criminal record dating back decades, including a past arrest for making a bomb threat," the WashPost reports.
  • The bomb threat was in August 2002, when he called Florida Power and Light and threatened to blow them up, warning that “It would be worse than September 11th."
  • Sayoc also had an arrest for larceny when he was 29, and declared bankruptcy in 2012, "according to a court filing that said he lived with his mother at that time."
  • Sayoc "also had multiple run-ins with the law in Broward County, including for grand theft and battery," per the Miami Herald.

Trump praised the arrest and stayed away from the suspect's political views: "We must never allow political violence to take root in America."

  • And Wray said: "We’re concerned about people committing political acts of violence under any motivation."

Flashback ... For people who have lived through political violence, the bomb scare has been especially traumatic. AP has a haunting interview with Lisa McNair, whose sister, Denise McNair, was one of the four young African American girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

“It’s like, ‘Ugh, again.’ When are we going to get this right? ... Why do we keep going there in America? Why do we keep going there as a world and human beings?”
Bonus: Pic du jour
Pete Marovich/Getty Images

President Trump speaks to the Young Black Leadership Summit, in the East Room today.

2. What you missed
  1. Facebook says it took down more than 80 accounts, pages and groups associated with "coordinated inauthentic behavior " originating from Iran. Details.
  2. U.S. GDP grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the third quarter, more than economists were expecting but slower than the second quarter. What it means.
  3. The World Health Organization warned of "intense" transmission of Ebola in one city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where violence has made it harder to conduct public health activities to contain the outbreak. The latest.
  4. Megyn Kelly will not return to "Today" after her comments this week suggesting that white people dressing up in blackface "was OK" when she was a kid, NBC announced. What's next.
  5. New Jersey's Senate race is now looking like a toss-up, according to the the Cook Political Report a sign that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is in serious trouble after years of questions about his ethics. What to watch.
  6. Venture-backed tech companies are going public, but it’s less and less because they need cash. Why they're making the jump.
3. 1 fad thing: Halloween costumes for pets
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images"

"This year for Halloween," Jen A. Miller writes on Vox, "I will be dressing up my cattle dog mix called Annie Oakley Tater Tot as Captain America."

"Last year, I put her in a bandana and cowboy hat and said she was her namesake. My first dog, who passed away last year, had been a queen, a mermaid, a dinosaur, and Superman. She didn’t much like being dressed in costumes, but the pictures were cute, and got all those likes on Facebook and Instagram."

  • "Of the $9 billion Americans are expected to spend on Halloween this year, $480 million [19%] of that is on our pets, according to the National Retail Foundation. That’s up from $5.8 billion total and $220 million on pets in 2010."
  • The group "predicts that the most popular costumes this year for cats and dogs will be pumpkin, hot dog, bumble bee, devil, cat, dog, lion, Star Wars characters, superhero, and ghost."

Why it matters: It's not a new notion, but Instagram is fueling it.

  • So good: "More than 31 million Americans plan to dress up their pets, and the owners most likely to do so are millennials, according to Philip Rist, executive vice president of Prosper Insights & Analytics." (Knoxville News Sentinel)