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Sept. 16, 2019, 4:37 p.m. EDT

Trump says Iran involvement in Saudi attacks being ‘checked out’ as he reiterates call for deep interest-rate cuts

Congress should probe Obama’s book and Netflix deals, president says

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By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch

Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the Oval Office at the White House on September 16, 2019 in Washington, DC.

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.


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.

Now see: Here are the 3 key times the U.S. tapped into its massive emergency-oil reserves.

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.

Read: 3 things to watch as Fed meets on interest rates.

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.

See: U.S. oil just saw its biggest price surge since the financial crisis; Brent logs sharpest gain on record.


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.

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Robert Schroeder is the White House reporter for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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