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FBI investigating white powder sent to Kansas Republican lawmakers

After Kansas Republican lawmakers received letters containing a white substance, the FBI says they’re joining state investigators.

It’s now been revealed that the letters were also sent to former President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  The FBI has so far, declined to describe it as domestic terrorism.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) confirmed June 18 that 100 letters containing the substance were sent to 100 conservative officials across the Sunflower State.

“Preliminary tests have returned from this lab indicating the substance is presumptively negative for common biological agents of concern. Further and more complete testing will be conducted on this sample, as well as on additional letters that have been collected, in an effort to determine the components of the substance. The investigation is ongoing. Nothing further will be released at this time,” the agency’s statement reads.

Kansas state House Speaker Daniel Hawkins, a Republican, received one of the letters, according to a statement to CNN from spokesperson Carrie Rahfaldt.

“We are very appreciative of KBI Director [Tony] Mattivi, the agents of the KBI, local law enforcement and fire departments, the KS National Guard, KDHE, the FBI, the Office of the State Fire Marshall, and everyone else who was involved in the massive process of retrieving these envelopes and ensuring the safety of our members,” Hawkins’s office told media outlets.

Also, Republican state Rep. Stephen Owens also got a letter with the powder, and he said he believes that only Republicans received such letters.

The letter, in part, reads, “It’s important not to choke on your ambition.”

And it was signed “your secret despiser,” Owens told CNN.

CNN also posted a copy of the letter that was sent to Owens, showing that the writer used multiple fonts.

“Salutations … to honor your recent accomplishments … I send to you a gift from the exclusive astruc baruch collection (sic),” it reads.

kansas white

The letter was postmarked June 14.

“There’s a question whether maybe it’s related to some of those vetoes that we overrode,” Owens told CNN. “It’s really terrifying to think that because of someone’s political beliefs that they can be a target.”

The Republican-led state Legislature overrode multiple vetoes handed down by Kansas’s Democrat governor this year, Owens said, including one that bars biological males who identify as females from competing on women’s sports teams.

Owens said he believed that the letter was from a constituent because the return address was for a church located in his district. The church says they are not involved in the crime.

“It was very deliberate, very intentional to get us to open the letters,” Owens said.

“Violence and acts of violence and threats do absolutely nothing, nothing to change one’s perspective. As a matter of fact, that strengthens the resolve of myself and my colleagues and of our party to continue the work that we’re doing.”

Another Republican lawmaker, state Rep. Tory Marie Blew, posted a suspicious letter on her Facebook page.

“This is not okay. Yesterday evening I received a call from our Sheriff, Brian Bellendir, to warn me about being careful with my mail. He described the suspicious package/letter and alerted that there could be a white substance in it,” Blew wrote. “This is not okay. My Friday evening didn’t go as planned but a huge thank you to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Salina Fire Department, and the Bomb Squad from Fort Riley for your quick response and making sure we are all safe.

“I’m very thankful for our first responders—words can’t describe my gratitude after this event. This is not okay. I don’t know all the details, but as of now only republicans [sic] legislators have received this package.”

State Rep. Fred Patton, a Republican, said he returned home recently and found a letter that matched the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s description. Patton told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the letter—like the one sent to Owens—had a church return address.

“The matter is being addressed by the KBI, but please be alert for any suspicious package and use caution when opening mail,” Senate President Ty Masterson told other lawmakers last week. “If you have something that looks odd, please contact the KBI prior to opening OR if you find a white substance, please call the KBI prior to handling.”

So far, only Republicans have received the letters. A spokesperson for Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the governor’s office hasn’t received any such letter.

–Wire services


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