By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
President Donald Trump has been tentative about directly blaming Iran for coordinated attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil-production infrastructure on Saturday, but on Monday said evidence is pointing to the Islamic Republic. Either way, the president used the incident to apply fresh pressure on the Federal Reserve to aggressively cut interest rates.
BLAME FOR IRAN
Before a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain, Trump told reporters it “certainly would look” like Iran was behind the attack.
“We’ll let you know definitively,” said Trump. “That’s being checked out right now.” The president said he didn’t want war with Iran but added the U.S. is more prepared for a conflict than any other country.
With oil prices skyrocketing after the attack and stocks dropping, Trump once again went after the Fed. Citing among other things what he called “the Oil hit,” Trump tweeted “Big Interest Rate Drop, Stimulus!” The Fed this week is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to a range of 1.75%-2%. That will be the second rate cut of the summer, though Trump has frequently complained the Fed’s action is inadequate.
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery gained 14.7% Monday, while international benchmark Brent climbed 14.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.07% fell about 143 points, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.48% declined by 9 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.29% dropped 23 points.
OBAMA AND NETFLIX
Also on Twitter Monday, Trump suggested that lawmakers should investigate Barack Obama instead of him, focusing on the former president’s book and Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +1.52% deals. Barack and Michelle Obama signed a joint book deal worth a reported $65 million in 2017. They also inked a deal with Netflix last year to produce content. Last month, their first documentary “American Factory” was released.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved guidelines for impeachment hearings on Trump. “I have a better idea. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal,” Trump said in a tweet.