Pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, setting off an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether figures vilified by the right were being targeted. From Washington to New York to Florida to Los Angeles, the authorities intercepted a wave of crudely built devices that were contained in manila envelopes. In the center of Manhattan, the Time Warner Center, an elegant office and shopping complex, was evacuated because of a pipe bomb sent to CNN, which has its New York offices there. It was addressed to John O. Brennan, a critic of President Trump who served as Mr. Obama’s C.I.A. director. None of the devices harmed anyone, and it was not immediately clear whether any of them could have. One law enforcement official said investigators were examining the possibility that they were hoax devices that were constructed to look like bombs but would not have exploded.
The F.B.I. said the devices were similar to one found Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor, in a New York City suburb.
Coming less than two weeks before the midterm elections, the discovery of the pipe bombs reverberated across a country already on edge, stirring anew questions about whether political discourse had grown too vitriolic.