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Authorities suspect the same person who sent a cryptic letter and mysterious white powder to dozens of Kansas state Republican lawmakers also sent one to former President Donald Trump and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
According to ABC News, which quoted unnamed officials, “Republican lawmakers in Kansas and across the nation who received them are being targeted by someone cryptically calling themselves ‘your secret despirer.'”
The report said that “since Friday, about 100 letters have been received by Kansas GOP lawmakers and Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, who is also a Republican, officials said.”
ABC News added:
Similar letters containing a cryptic note and a “suspicious powdery substance” were addressed to former President Donald Trump, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and other high-profile individuals, though the U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted them before they were delivered, the sources said.
Postal inspectors have possession of the letters and have deemed them harmless, the sources said. At this point, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service are monitoring the situation.
“There is some message. The message is somewhat unclear, but it was intended to be threatening,” Republican state Sen. Molly Baumgardner, who also received one of the letters, told ABC affiliate KMBC in Kansas City, Mo.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, along with the FBI, are attempting to determine who sent the letters and the motive behind them.
“Kansas legislators that are Republican are being targeted,” Baumgardner told the media.
She added that the letter sent to her contained the suspicious powder and said, “It is important not to choke on your ambition.” She added that the note said referred to the contents as a “gift” and the sender referred to themself as “your secret despirer,” which derives from the word “despise.”
“Everybody has to be concerned,” Baumgardner told KMBC. “Everyone has to take this and any subsequent threats like this very seriously.”
Small samples of the powder have been sent to a lab for testing.
“Preliminary tests have returned from this lab indicating the substance is presumptively negative for common biological agents of concern,” the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a statement over the weekend.
“[The] Kansas Highway Patrol alerted director of Legislative Administrative Services Tom Day Friday that the letters or packages of three or four other lawmakers had been submitted for further investigation. Day told legislators the letters had return addresses in Topeka and Kansas City,” the Kansas City Star reported over the weekend.
The outlet noted further:
Rep. Samantha Poetter Parshall, a Paola Republican, said she was the sixth or seventh person to report receiving a letter to Day. She discovered the message while checking the mail with her 7-year-old son.
She thought the local address on her envelope meant it was safe to open.
“Once I read something about ‘Choking on your ambitions,’ I realized there was another piece of paper folded up inside of it and put it back together,” she told the outlet.
According to Poetter Parshall, the letter she received contained a white powder and resembled the one received by Rep. Paul Waggoner, a Hutchinson Republican. While she was unsure if all the messages were identical, she mentioned hearing that other Republican colleagues were also receiving similar letters.
“It’s possible there could be a Democrat who received once based on a voting record. But not knowing exactly what the details are, so far, I’ve only heard of Republicans receiving them,” she told The Star.
Rep. Tory Marie Blew, a Republican lawmaker from Great Bend, posted to Facebook Saturday morning that she, too, had received one of the letters.
“This is not okay,” she said in a post. “I don’t know all the details but as of now only Republican legislators have received this package.”