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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 185)

Trump Weighs Retaliation Against Iran and Names National Security Adviser

LOS ANGELES — In the space of seven minutes on an airport tarmac on Wednesday, President Trump captured the thorny decision he faces as he once again straddles the edge of war and peace.

One moment, he threatened to order “the ultimate option” of a strike on Iran in retaliation for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The next he ruminated about what a mistake it had been for the United States to get entangled in Middle East wars and welcomed Iran’s president to visit.

To help sort through the alternatives, Mr. Trump on Wednesday named a hawkish new national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator. But as Mr. Trump spoke with reporters, shouting to be heard over the roar of Air Force One engines, Mr. Trump sounded like a commander in chief searching for a way to be tough without pulling the trigger.

“It’s very easy to attack, but if you ask Lindsey, ask him how did going into the Middle East, how did that work out? And how did going into Iraq work out?” Mr. Trump told reporters, referring to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican ally who warned against showing “weakness” toward Iran. “So we have a disagreement on that. And you know, there’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things. It’s very easy to start.”

Mr. Trump’s team has developed a range of alternatives short of a retaliatory strike with bombs or missiles, including a new round of sanctions to further strangle Iran’s economy, the deployment of more American forces to the region as a deterrent against future provocations and a stepped-up cybercampaign to send a message of resolve to Tehran without bloodshed, officials said.

The president, who was wrapping up a three-day campaign trip to New Mexico and California, began Wednesday by vowing more sanctions on Iran to be detailed in the next 48 hours. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia and declared the attacks an “act of war” by Iran but talked mainly of rallying allies to enhance deterrence.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters on his plane. “We will be working with our European partners as well,” he continued, adding, “We’re working to build out a coalition to develop a plan to deter them.”

The military options available to Mr. Trump are similar to the airstrikes that he called off at the last minute in June after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone. Among those potential Iranian targets were facilities like radar and missile batteries. Instead of missile attacks, the United States later mounted a cyberattack on Iran that avoided the casualties that Mr. Trump said concerned him.

Military planners at the Pentagon and at United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla., have forwarded a long-identified list of Iranian targets that could constitute a proportional response. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper discussed those options with Mr. Trump and other top national security aides in meetings on Sunday and Monday, officials said.

The more aggressive options include strikes against Iran’s Abadan oil refinery, one of the world’s largest, or Kharg Island, the country’s biggest oil export facility, options first reported by NBC News.

But attacking them could escalate the conflict and pull the United States deeper into a Middle East conflict.

Other potential targets include missile launch sites, bases or other assets belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite Iranian unit blamed for much of Iran’s paramilitary operations against external foes.

American intelligence detected unusual activity at military bases in southwest Iran that would be consistent with preparations for missile and drone strikes like those against Saudi Arabia, two senior American officials said. Those bases could be among potential targets.

Any strikes against Iran would almost certainly be carried out by volleys of cruise missiles from Navy vessels. Strike aircraft would be aloft to carry out attacks if Iran retaliated against the first wave, but the priority would be to not endanger American pilots.

Michael J. Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A., said on Monday night that the United States must retaliate, especially if Iran is found responsible for the attacks.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158639664_88aa6766-c33a-4387-b5a5-d368018377fd-articleLarge Trump Weighs Retaliation Against Iran and Names National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) National Security Council Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

Mr. O’Brien is an outspoken advocate of tough policies toward Iran and powers like Russia and China.CreditErik Simander/TT News Agency, via Reuters

“We need to respond here, particularly if the attack occurred from Iran,” Mr. Morell said in a presentation at George Mason University in Virginia. “That is an act of war, not just a terrorist attack. I think we have to deter Iran.”

Senior officials said they were looking at cyberoptions, which would cause few or no casualties and would be considered a “proportionate response.”

American war plans have long included such options against Iranian oil production facilities, a feature of a plan called Nitro Zeus, developed years ago to cripple Iranian infrastructure without resorting to bombing.

The secret cyberattack in June wiped out a critical database used by Iran’s paramilitary arm to plot attacks against oil tankers and degraded Tehran’s ability to covertly target shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, at least temporarily. Iran spent months trying to recover lost information and restart some of the computer systems — including military communications networks. It is not clear whether it has succeeded.

Military planners are also advancing the idea of deploying more American forces to the region without taking direct action against Iran. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, has pushed to send additional troops to the region, senior military officials said.

In meetings and in memos, the general has argued that the United States should view Iran as a great power or near-peer threat, much as the Trump administration’s formal national security strategy views China, Russia and North Korea.

Under that logic, the United States would include Iran along with China and Russia as a central threat, requiring sustained military commitment to the region. The attack on the Saudi oil fields, the officials said, is being used to bolster Central Command’s push for more resources.

But Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, disputed that characterization, which was provided by senior Pentagon officials. “That is a wildly inaccurate representation of General McKenzie’s thoughts and counsel on both Iran and the National Defense Strategy,” he said, without elaborating.

Mr. Trump will be assisted in making his decision by Mr. O’Brien, who will replace John R. Bolton as the national security adviser. Mr. Trump announced the appointment via Twitter on Wednesday morning, and Mr. O’Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer, then joined him on Air Force One.

In selecting Mr. O’Brien, the president opted for an outspoken advocate of tough policies toward Iran and powers like Russia and China, leaving it unclear how his advice may differ from that of Mr. Bolton, an ally with whom Mr. O’Brien has worked in the past. Mr. Bolton left the White House last week in an acrimonious break with the president after unsuccessfully urging the June strikes on Iran and resisting diplomatic outreach to Tehran.

Mr. O’Brien will be Mr. Trump’s fourth national security adviser in less than three years, the most any president has had in a first term. He has written regularly about foreign policy and collected a series of essays in a book, “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis,” published in 2016 with a cover blurb from Mr. Bolton.

In that book, Mr. O’Brien warned against “appeasement and retreat” as he excoriated President Barack Obama for what he deemed a weak foreign policy. “There is simply no evidence to support the idea that we can trust revolutionary Iran to give up its long-term goal of developing a nuclear weapon and delivery systems,” he wrote.

Although Mr. Trump abandoned Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement, the president remains open to negotiations with Iran. His administration denied visas to some Iranians intent on traveling to New York for next week’s United Nations General Assembly session because of their ties to a designated terrorist group, but Mr. Trump said he would let top Iranian officials visit. “If it was up to me, I would let them come,” he said.

His disagreement with Mr. Graham, one of his closest allies, was notable. The senator said on Tuesday that the president’s decision to call off the airstrikes in June was seen by Iran as “a sign of weakness.”

On the Los Angeles tarmac on Wednesday, Mr. Trump rejected that, saying, “No, I actually think it’s a sign of strength.”

“There are many options,” Mr. Trump added. “There’s the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we’ll see. We’re in a very powerful position. Right now we’re in a very, very powerful position.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, its second cut since late July, and suggested it was prepared to move aggressively if the United States economy shows additional signs of weakening.

For now, a growing number of Fed officials expect just one more cut this year, based on economic projections released following the meeting, in line with investor and economist expectations.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, speaking at a news conference said that the United States economy remains strong and unemployment is low but that “there are risks to this positive outlook.” If the economy weakens, a “more extensive” series of rate cuts would be appropriate, he said.

“Our eyes are open, we’re watching the situation,” Mr. Powell said, explaining that the Fed will stop cutting rates to sustain the expansion “when we think we’ve done enough.”

“There may come a time when the economy weakens and we would have to cut more aggressively,” he said. “We don’t know.”

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday did little to appease President Trump, who has been pushing the central bank to cut interest rates to zero — or even into negative territory. The Fed’s policy interest rate is now set in a range of 1.75 to 2 percent, and not a single official sees it falling lower than 1.5 to 1.75 percent through the end of 2022.

“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet shortly after the Fed’s announcement. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Stocks, which were down slightly before the announcement, fell further afterward. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., the S&P 500 index was down 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down on the day, at roughly 1.77 percent.

The Fed’s decision-making has been complicated by mixed economic signals. While risks cloud the horizon, economic data remain solid, creating a complicated backdrop. Businesses are hiring and consumers are spending, but Mr. Trump’s trade war and prospects of an unruly British withdrawal from the European Union have markets on edge. Inflation has been stuck below the Fed’s 2 percent target, giving officials room to lower rates without worrying about runaway price gains.

Mr. Powell said the decision to cut rates stemmed from a need to guard against “some notable developments” and “ongoing risks.” Mr. Powell said trade uncertainty and geopolitical tensions necessitated action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160978143_aba2961c-c178-480b-bd1b-169e1261c53a-articleLarge Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

The Fed’s decision to cut rates was not unanimous. Three officials dissented, with two objecting to a cut and one pushing for an even bigger cut.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Since the middle of last year, the global growth outlook has weakened,” Mr. Powell said. “Trade policy tensions have waxed and waned,” and “elevated uncertainty” is weighing on business investment and exports, he said.

In its official statement after its meeting, the Fed said policymakers “will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

While the median Fed official expects rates to stay at the current level through the end of the year, seven of 17 expect another rate cut. Not a single official expected three rate cuts in 2019 when the central bank last released economic projections in June, suggesting that momentum is shifting toward additional accommodation.

Mr. Powell addressed that shift, saying the change in the Fed’s policy stance over the course of the year is “the main takeaway.”

But officials are increasingly divided over what happens next. Three members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee dissented in this month’s vote. James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wanted a more drastic half-point rate cut and voted against moving by just a quarter point. Esther George, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, and Eric Rosengren, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, thought that the central bank should keep borrowing costs steady. Ms. George and Mr. Rosengren also voted against the July rate cut.

Mr. Powell acknowledged the divisions, calling it “a time of difficult judgments” but saying he welcomed “diverse perspectives.”

He added that the bulk of the committee is going “meeting by meeting.”

The dissents underscore the economic and political challenges facing the Fed.

While the Fed operates independently of the White House and answers to Congress, Mr. Trump has made a regular habit of criticizing Mr. Powell and his colleagues.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sept. 11. “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing.”

Officials regularly say they set policy with an eye to the longer-term economic outlook, not short-term political concerns, but Mr. Trump’s onslaught creates an optics problem for the Fed. Some share of the population could see rate cuts, like Wednesday’s, as a sign that the central bank is caving to political pressure, particularly given that it was not a unanimous decision.

But there is an economic rationale for lowering rates sooner rather than later, since doing so could keep credit flowing, helping to keep consumer and business spending as uncertainty climbs.

Westlake Legal Group fed-second-rate-cut-promo-1568827337935-articleLarge-v2 Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

Why the Fed Lowered Interest Rates Again

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the second time this year, as it tries to guard the United States economy against trade-related uncertainty and slowing global growth.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has drifted lower recently on the back of trade concerns, and jitters about the United States economy were also reflected in the Business Roundtable’s C.E.O. Economic Outlook Index, which declined to a three-year low in the third quarter.

Chief executives of the nation’s largest corporations have sharply lowered their plans for capital investment and their expectations for sales. Trade tensions were cited as a major factor for the worry that companies are feeling.

At the same time, employers are still hiring, wages are gradually rising and Americans in their prime have been coming back into the labor force. As households take home better paychecks, their spending is holding up, fueling strong retail sales. Even the housing market, which has struggled this year, shows signs of firming.

But global risks abound. Germany seems to be teetering on the brink of recession. Britain’s exit from the European Union remains fraught, and the United States’ trade war with China is dragging on.

Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to impose levies on nearly all Chinese imports by the end of the year. While the two nations are back at the negotiating table, it is unclear whether and when a deal could be reached.

The Fed has also struggled to coax inflation up to its 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for steady inflation that is low enough to allow for consumer comfort but high enough to leave policymakers extra headroom to cut interest rates, which include price gains, during a downturn.

Inflation came in at 1.6 percent in July, based on the Fed’s preferred gauge, and has been mired below its target for years. Inflation expectations, as measured by one New York Fed survey, have slipped both in the short- and the longer-term.

The Fed also lowered the rate of interest it pays on reserves — money commercial banks park at the central bank — to 1.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point below the top of the Fed’s preferred range. That technical tweak is meant to keep the Fed funds rate, which has been creeping up, anchored within its range.

It also directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk to execute open market transactions as necessary and “until instructed otherwise,” to keep short-term lending rates from rising above the Fed’s target.

The move came after several days of wild activity in an important corner of financial markets.

The overnight rate on Treasury repurchase agreements, which are short-term loans used by financial institutions like hedge funds and banks, surged at the start of the week amid a shortage of dollars. A few technical factors seemed to contribute to the spike — including a corporate tax date, recent government bond issuance that sopped up cash and the aftereffects of the Fed’s shrinking of its balance sheet.

The jump pushed up the Fed’s key policy tool, the Fed funds rate, and forced the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to spring into action to keep it in line, a first since 2008.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, its second cut since late July, and suggested it was prepared to move aggressively if the United States economy shows additional signs of weakening.

For now, a growing number of Fed officials expect just one more cut this year, based on economic projections released following the meeting, in line with investor and economist expectations.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, speaking at a news conference said that the United States economy remains strong and unemployment is low but that “there are risks to this positive outlook.” If the economy weakens, a “more extensive” series of rate cuts would be appropriate, he said.

“Our eyes are open, we’re watching the situation,” Mr. Powell said, explaining that the Fed will stop cutting rates to sustain the expansion “when we think we’ve done enough.”

“There may come a time when the economy weakens and we would have to cut more aggressively,” he said. “We don’t know.”

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday did little to appease President Trump, who has been pushing the central bank to cut interest rates to zero — or even into negative territory. The Fed’s policy interest rate is now set in a range of 1.75 to 2 percent, and not a single official sees it falling lower than 1.5 to 1.75 percent through the end of 2022.

“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet shortly after the Fed’s announcement. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Stocks, which were down slightly before the announcement, fell further afterward. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., the S&P 500 index was down 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down on the day, at roughly 1.77 percent.

The Fed’s decision-making has been complicated by mixed economic signals. While risks cloud the horizon, economic data remain solid, creating a complicated backdrop. Businesses are hiring and consumers are spending, but Mr. Trump’s trade war and prospects of an unruly British withdrawal from the European Union have markets on edge. Inflation has been stuck below the Fed’s 2 percent target, giving officials room to lower rates without worrying about runaway price gains.

Mr. Powell said the decision to cut rates stemmed from a need to guard against “some notable developments” and “ongoing risks.” Mr. Powell said trade uncertainty and geopolitical tensions necessitated action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160978143_aba2961c-c178-480b-bd1b-169e1261c53a-articleLarge Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

The Fed’s decision to cut rates was not unanimous. Three officials dissented, with two objecting to a cut and one pushing for an even bigger cut.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Since the middle of last year, the global growth outlook has weakened,” Mr. Powell said. “Trade policy tensions have waxed and waned,” and “elevated uncertainty” is weighing on business investment and exports, he said.

In its official statement after its meeting, the Fed said policymakers “will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

While the median Fed official expects rates to stay at the current level through the end of the year, seven of 17 expect another rate cut. Not a single official expected three rate cuts in 2019 when the central bank last released economic projections in June, suggesting that momentum is shifting toward additional accommodation.

Mr. Powell addressed that shift, saying the change in the Fed’s policy stance over the course of the year is “the main takeaway.”

But officials are increasingly divided over what happens next. Three members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee dissented in this month’s vote. James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wanted a more drastic half-point rate cut and voted against moving by just a quarter point. Esther George, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, and Eric Rosengren, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, thought that the central bank should keep borrowing costs steady. Ms. George and Mr. Rosengren also voted against the July rate cut.

Mr. Powell acknowledged the divisions, calling it “a time of difficult judgments” but saying he welcomed “diverse perspectives.”

He added that the bulk of the committee is going “meeting by meeting.”

The dissents underscore the economic and political challenges facing the Fed.

While the Fed operates independently of the White House and answers to Congress, Mr. Trump has made a regular habit of criticizing Mr. Powell and his colleagues.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sept. 11. “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing.”

Officials regularly say they set policy with an eye to the longer-term economic outlook, not short-term political concerns, but Mr. Trump’s onslaught creates an optics problem for the Fed. Some share of the population could see rate cuts, like Wednesday’s, as a sign that the central bank is caving to political pressure, particularly given that it was not a unanimous decision.

But there is an economic rationale for lowering rates sooner rather than later, since doing so could keep credit flowing, helping to keep consumer and business spending as uncertainty climbs.

Westlake Legal Group fed-second-rate-cut-promo-1568827337935-articleLarge-v2 Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

Why the Fed Lowered Interest Rates Again

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the second time this year, as it tries to guard the United States economy against trade-related uncertainty and slowing global growth.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has drifted lower recently on the back of trade concerns, and jitters about the United States economy were also reflected in the Business Roundtable’s C.E.O. Economic Outlook Index, which declined to a three-year low in the third quarter.

Chief executives of the nation’s largest corporations have sharply lowered their plans for capital investment and their expectations for sales. Trade tensions were cited as a major factor for the worry that companies are feeling.

At the same time, employers are still hiring, wages are gradually rising and Americans in their prime have been coming back into the labor force. As households take home better paychecks, their spending is holding up, fueling strong retail sales. Even the housing market, which has struggled this year, shows signs of firming.

But global risks abound. Germany seems to be teetering on the brink of recession. Britain’s exit from the European Union remains fraught, and the United States’ trade war with China is dragging on.

Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to impose levies on nearly all Chinese imports by the end of the year. While the two nations are back at the negotiating table, it is unclear whether and when a deal could be reached.

The Fed has also struggled to coax inflation up to its 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for steady inflation that is low enough to allow for consumer comfort but high enough to leave policymakers extra headroom to cut interest rates, which include price gains, during a downturn.

Inflation came in at 1.6 percent in July, based on the Fed’s preferred gauge, and has been mired below its target for years. Inflation expectations, as measured by one New York Fed survey, have slipped both in the short- and the longer-term.

The Fed also lowered the rate of interest it pays on reserves — money commercial banks park at the central bank — to 1.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point below the top of the Fed’s preferred range. That technical tweak is meant to keep the Fed funds rate, which has been creeping up, anchored within its range.

It also directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk to execute open market transactions as necessary and “until instructed otherwise,” to keep short-term lending rates from rising above the Fed’s target.

The move came after several days of wild activity in an important corner of financial markets.

The overnight rate on Treasury repurchase agreements, which are short-term loans used by financial institutions like hedge funds and banks, surged at the start of the week amid a shortage of dollars. A few technical factors seemed to contribute to the spike — including a corporate tax date, recent government bond issuance that sopped up cash and the aftereffects of the Fed’s shrinking of its balance sheet.

The jump pushed up the Fed’s key policy tool, the Fed funds rate, and forced the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to spring into action to keep it in line, a first since 2008.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, its second cut since late July, and suggested it was prepared to move aggressively if the United States economy shows additional signs of weakening.

For now, a growing number of Fed officials expect just one more cut this year, based on economic projections released following the meeting, in line with investor and economist expectations.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, speaking at a news conference said that the United States economy remains strong and unemployment is low but that “there are risks to this positive outlook.” If the economy weakens, a “more extensive” series of rate cuts would be appropriate, he said.

“Our eyes are open, we’re watching the situation,” Mr. Powell said, explaining that the Fed will stop cutting rates to sustain the expansion “when we think we’ve done enough.”

“There may come a time when the economy weakens and we would have to cut more aggressively,” he said. “We don’t know.”

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday did little to appease President Trump, who has been pushing the central bank to cut interest rates to zero — or even into negative territory. The Fed’s policy interest rate is now set in a range of 1.75 to 2 percent, and not a single official sees it falling lower than 1.5 to 1.75 percent through the end of 2022.

“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet shortly after the Fed’s announcement. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Stocks, which were down slightly before the announcement, fell further afterward. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., the S&P 500 index was down 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down on the day, at roughly 1.77 percent.

The Fed’s decision-making has been complicated by mixed economic signals. While risks cloud the horizon, economic data remain solid, creating a complicated backdrop. Businesses are hiring and consumers are spending, but Mr. Trump’s trade war and prospects of an unruly British withdrawal from the European Union have markets on edge. Inflation has been stuck below the Fed’s 2 percent target, giving officials room to lower rates without worrying about runaway price gains.

Mr. Powell said the decision to cut rates stemmed from a need to guard against “some notable developments” and “ongoing risks.” Mr. Powell said trade uncertainty and geopolitical tensions necessitated action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160978143_aba2961c-c178-480b-bd1b-169e1261c53a-articleLarge Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

The Fed’s decision to cut rates was not unanimous. Three officials dissented, with two objecting to a cut and one pushing for an even bigger cut.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Since the middle of last year, the global growth outlook has weakened,” Mr. Powell said. “Trade policy tensions have waxed and waned,” and “elevated uncertainty” is weighing on business investment and exports, he said.

In its official statement after its meeting, the Fed said policymakers “will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

While the median Fed official expects rates to stay at the current level through the end of the year, seven of 17 expect another rate cut. Not a single official expected three rate cuts in 2019 when the central bank last released economic projections in June, suggesting that momentum is shifting toward additional accommodation.

Mr. Powell addressed that shift, saying the change in the Fed’s policy stance over the course of the year is “the main takeaway.”

But officials are increasingly divided over what happens next. Three members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee dissented in this month’s vote. James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wanted a more drastic half-point rate cut and voted against moving by just a quarter point. Esther George, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, and Eric Rosengren, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, thought that the central bank should keep borrowing costs steady. Ms. George and Mr. Rosengren also voted against the July rate cut.

Mr. Powell acknowledged the divisions, calling it “a time of difficult judgments” but saying he welcomed “diverse perspectives.”

He added that the bulk of the committee is going “meeting by meeting.”

The dissents underscore the economic and political challenges facing the Fed.

While the Fed operates independently of the White House and answers to Congress, Mr. Trump has made a regular habit of criticizing Mr. Powell and his colleagues.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sept. 11. “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing.”

Officials regularly say they set policy with an eye to the longer-term economic outlook, not short-term political concerns, but Mr. Trump’s onslaught creates an optics problem for the Fed. Some share of the population could see rate cuts, like Wednesday’s, as a sign that the central bank is caving to political pressure, particularly given that it was not a unanimous decision.

But there is an economic rationale for lowering rates sooner rather than later, since doing so could keep credit flowing, helping to keep consumer and business spending as uncertainty climbs.

Westlake Legal Group fed-second-rate-cut-promo-1568827337935-articleLarge-v2 Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

Why the Fed Lowered Interest Rates Again

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the second time this year, as it tries to guard the United States economy against trade-related uncertainty and slowing global growth.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has drifted lower recently on the back of trade concerns, and jitters about the United States economy were also reflected in the Business Roundtable’s C.E.O. Economic Outlook Index, which declined to a three-year low in the third quarter.

Chief executives of the nation’s largest corporations have sharply lowered their plans for capital investment and their expectations for sales. Trade tensions were cited as a major factor for the worry that companies are feeling.

At the same time, employers are still hiring, wages are gradually rising and Americans in their prime have been coming back into the labor force. As households take home better paychecks, their spending is holding up, fueling strong retail sales. Even the housing market, which has struggled this year, shows signs of firming.

But global risks abound. Germany seems to be teetering on the brink of recession. Britain’s exit from the European Union remains fraught, and the United States’ trade war with China is dragging on.

Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to impose levies on nearly all Chinese imports by the end of the year. While the two nations are back at the negotiating table, it is unclear whether and when a deal could be reached.

The Fed has also struggled to coax inflation up to its 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for steady inflation that is low enough to allow for consumer comfort but high enough to leave policymakers extra headroom to cut interest rates, which include price gains, during a downturn.

Inflation came in at 1.6 percent in July, based on the Fed’s preferred gauge, and has been mired below its target for years. Inflation expectations, as measured by one New York Fed survey, have slipped both in the short- and the longer-term.

The Fed also lowered the rate of interest it pays on reserves — money commercial banks park at the central bank — to 1.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point below the top of the Fed’s preferred range. That technical tweak is meant to keep the Fed funds rate, which has been creeping up, anchored within its range.

It also directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk to execute open market transactions as necessary and “until instructed otherwise,” to keep short-term lending rates from rising above the Fed’s target.

The move came after several days of wild activity in an important corner of financial markets.

The overnight rate on Treasury repurchase agreements, which are short-term loans used by financial institutions like hedge funds and banks, surged at the start of the week amid a shortage of dollars. A few technical factors seemed to contribute to the spike — including a corporate tax date, recent government bond issuance that sopped up cash and the aftereffects of the Fed’s shrinking of its balance sheet.

The jump pushed up the Fed’s key policy tool, the Fed funds rate, and forced the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to spring into action to keep it in line, a first since 2008.

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Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, its second cut since late July, and suggested it was prepared to move aggressively if the United States economy shows additional signs of weakening.

For now, a growing number of Fed officials expect just one more cut this year, based on economic projections released following the meeting, in line with investor and economist expectations.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, speaking at a news conference said that the United States economy remains strong and unemployment is low but that “there are risks to this positive outlook.” If the economy weakens, a “more extensive” series of rate cuts would be appropriate, he said.

“Our eyes are open, we’re watching the situation,” Mr. Powell said, explaining that the Fed will stop cutting rates to sustain the expansion “when we think we’ve done enough.”

“There may come a time when the economy weakens and we would have to cut more aggressively,” he said. “We don’t know.”

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday did little to appease President Trump, who has been pushing the central bank to cut interest rates to zero — or even into negative territory. The Fed’s policy interest rate is now set in a range of 1.75 to 2 percent, and not a single official sees it falling lower than 1.5 to 1.75 percent through the end of 2022.

“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet shortly after the Fed’s announcement. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Stocks, which were down slightly before the announcement, fell further afterward. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., the S&P 500 index was down 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down on the day, at roughly 1.77 percent.

The Fed’s decision-making has been complicated by mixed economic signals. While risks cloud the horizon, economic data remain solid, creating a complicated backdrop. Businesses are hiring and consumers are spending, but Mr. Trump’s trade war and prospects of an unruly British withdrawal from the European Union have markets on edge. Inflation has been stuck below the Fed’s 2 percent target, giving officials room to lower rates without worrying about runaway price gains.

Mr. Powell said the decision to cut rates stemmed from a need to guard against “some notable developments” and “ongoing risks.” Mr. Powell said trade uncertainty and geopolitical tensions necessitated action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160978143_aba2961c-c178-480b-bd1b-169e1261c53a-articleLarge Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

The Fed’s decision to cut rates was not unanimous. Three officials dissented, with two objecting to a cut and one pushing for an even bigger cut.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Since the middle of last year, the global growth outlook has weakened,” Mr. Powell said. “Trade policy tensions have waxed and waned,” and “elevated uncertainty” is weighing on business investment and exports, he said.

In its official statement after its meeting, the Fed said policymakers “will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

While the median Fed official expects rates to stay at the current level through the end of the year, seven of 17 expect another rate cut. Not a single official expected three rate cuts in 2019 when the central bank last released economic projections in June, suggesting that momentum is shifting toward additional accommodation.

Mr. Powell addressed that shift, saying the change in the Fed’s policy stance over the course of the year is “the main takeaway.”

But officials are increasingly divided over what happens next. Three members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee dissented in this month’s vote. James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wanted a more drastic half-point rate cut and voted against moving by just a quarter point. Esther George, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, and Eric Rosengren, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, thought that the central bank should keep borrowing costs steady. Ms. George and Mr. Rosengren also voted against the July rate cut.

Mr. Powell acknowledged the divisions, calling it “a time of difficult judgments” but saying he welcomed “diverse perspectives.”

He added that the bulk of the committee is going “meeting by meeting.”

The dissents underscore the economic and political challenges facing the Fed.

While the Fed operates independently of the White House and answers to Congress, Mr. Trump has made a regular habit of criticizing Mr. Powell and his colleagues.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sept. 11. “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing.”

Officials regularly say they set policy with an eye to the longer-term economic outlook, not short-term political concerns, but Mr. Trump’s onslaught creates an optics problem for the Fed. Some share of the population could see rate cuts, like Wednesday’s, as a sign that the central bank is caving to political pressure, particularly given that it was not a unanimous decision.

But there is an economic rationale for lowering rates sooner rather than later, since doing so could keep credit flowing, helping to keep consumer and business spending as uncertainty climbs.

Westlake Legal Group fed-second-rate-cut-promo-1568827337935-articleLarge-v2 Fed Cuts Interest Rates by Another Quarter Point United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

Why the Fed Lowered Interest Rates Again

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the second time this year, as it tries to guard the United States economy against trade-related uncertainty and slowing global growth.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has drifted lower recently on the back of trade concerns, and jitters about the United States economy were also reflected in the Business Roundtable’s C.E.O. Economic Outlook Index, which declined to a three-year low in the third quarter.

Chief executives of the nation’s largest corporations have sharply lowered their plans for capital investment and their expectations for sales. Trade tensions were cited as a major factor for the worry that companies are feeling.

At the same time, employers are still hiring, wages are gradually rising and Americans in their prime have been coming back into the labor force. As households take home better paychecks, their spending is holding up, fueling strong retail sales. Even the housing market, which has struggled this year, shows signs of firming.

But global risks abound. Germany seems to be teetering on the brink of recession. Britain’s exit from the European Union remains fraught, and the United States’ trade war with China is dragging on.

Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to impose levies on nearly all Chinese imports by the end of the year. While the two nations are back at the negotiating table, it is unclear whether and when a deal could be reached.

The Fed has also struggled to coax inflation up to its 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for steady inflation that is low enough to allow for consumer comfort but high enough to leave policymakers extra headroom to cut interest rates, which include price gains, during a downturn.

Inflation came in at 1.6 percent in July, based on the Fed’s preferred gauge, and has been mired below its target for years. Inflation expectations, as measured by one New York Fed survey, have slipped both in the short- and the longer-term.

The Fed also lowered the rate of interest it pays on reserves — money commercial banks park at the central bank — to 1.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point below the top of the Fed’s preferred range. That technical tweak is meant to keep the Fed funds rate, which has been creeping up, anchored within its range.

It also directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk to execute open market transactions as necessary and “until instructed otherwise,” to keep short-term lending rates from rising above the Fed’s target.

The move came after several days of wild activity in an important corner of financial markets.

The overnight rate on Treasury repurchase agreements, which are short-term loans used by financial institutions like hedge funds and banks, surged at the start of the week amid a shortage of dollars. A few technical factors seemed to contribute to the spike — including a corporate tax date, recent government bond issuance that sopped up cash and the aftereffects of the Fed’s shrinking of its balance sheet.

The jump pushed up the Fed’s key policy tool, the Fed funds rate, and forced the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to spring into action to keep it in line, a first since 2008.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of having carried out an “act of war” with aerial strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last weekend, and he said the United States was working to build a coalition to deter further attacks.

Mr. Pompeo’s words were the strongest so far from any American official regarding the attack on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, which severely impaired production at the leading oil exporter and raised fears that tensions between Iran and the United States could escalate into a new war.

Despite Mr. Pompeo’s statement, President Trump pushed back against another American military entanglement in the Middle East, speaking only of unspecified new sanctions on Iran.

Asked about a possible American attack on Iran, Mr. Trump told reporters in Los Angeles: “There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that.”

In Saudi Arabia, military officials displayed what they described as physical evidence that Iran had been responsible for the attack, but did not specify how they intended to respond or what they expected from their American allies.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, have said they were responsible for the attack. Iran, a strong ally of the Houthis, has denied any responsibility. American and Saudi officials have said the Houthis had neither the sophistication nor the weapons to have carried it out.

“This was an Iranian attack,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”

Mr. Pompeo spoke to reporters at the end of a flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the country, to discuss the intelligence on the attack and actions. Mr. Pompeo also planned to visit the United Arab Emirates on this emergency trip before returning to Washington.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” he said. “We will be working with our European partners as well.”

Westlake Legal Group saudi-oil-attack-promo-1568672150666-articleLarge-v2 Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

Who Was Behind the Saudi Oil Attack? What the Evidence Shows

American officials have offered only satellite photos, which analysts said were insufficient to prove where the attack came from, which weapons were used and who fired them.

“We’re working to build out a coalition to develop a plan to deter them,” Mr. Pompeo added.

He dismissed the claim by the Houthis that they had attacked the oil facilities. “The intelligence community has high confidence that these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. “As for how we know, the equipment used is unknown to be in the Houthis’ arsenal.”

Earlier at a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Saudi Defense Ministry showed what it described as debris from the attack site and videos that appeared to be from surveillance cameras on the ground.

“This attack was launched from the north, and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” said Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for ministry.

He said Saudi officials were still trying to determine exactly where the strikes had originated.

In Iran, state media reported Wednesday that American obstruction might force President Hassan Rouhani to miss the annual United Nations General Assembly next week in New York.

The attack on Saturday, which Saudi officials said involved some two dozen drones and cruise missiles, temporarily cut Saudi oil processing in half, shaking global markets and worsening the tensions between the United States and Iran that have prevailed since Mr. Trump took office.

Mr. Trump has already imposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran and some of its top officials, in what the administration has described as a “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to negotiate new limits on its nuclear program and stop its sponsorship of militant groups across the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, he wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, but Mr. Trump later that details would be released within 48 hours.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran responded to the announcement on Twitter, writing that Mr. Trump was “escalating U.S. economic war on Iranians.”

Iran and the Houthis have described the airstrike on Saudi Arabia as retaliation for the extensive bombing by the Saudis that has killed thousands of people in Yemen.

American and Saudi officials have said that the weekend attack clearly used Iranian weapons. The Americans have also said that evidence that has not been made public points to a strike launched from Iran, to the north, not from Yemen, to the south.

“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so,” said Colonel al-Maliki, the Saudi spokesman.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160995843_c15a4b03-847e-4855-a7ba-ca76214b84c6-articleLarge Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.CreditIranian Presidency

He also said that 18 drones hit one site and four cruise missiles hit another, and that three missiles fell short.

It was not clear how the evidence shown by the Saudis indicated that the attack came from the north, or did not come from Yemen. Nor did the Saudis make it clear whether they were saying that Iran had the kind of indirect involvement, through supplying munitions and training, that it has had in previous Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia, or something more direct, like Iranian personnel taking part or the attack’s having been launched from Iran.

The Houthis have launched missiles at Saudi targets before, but none of the attacks had the scale, sophistication or practical impact of the one on Saturday.

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was even speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter between them.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to go to New York to prepare for the meeting because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said that Iran would not agree until the United States lifted economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role in the drone attack and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as go-betweens because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Last year, Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 accord limiting the scope of Iran’s nuclear program, and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal. This year, Mr. Trump has hit Iran and Iranian officials with new rounds of sanctions.

The main penalties seek to choke off Iran’s international oil sales, the heart of its economy. They bar any company doing business with Iran from using the American banking system, whose reach is so vast that Mr. Trump’s actions apply to many overseas businesses.

After Mr. Trump began imposing more sanctions this year, several tankers were damaged near the Persian Gulf, and Western governments said they had been sabotaged by Iran, which Tehran denied. Iran has also seized several foreign vessels in or near the Strait of Hormuz, including a British-flagged tanker it has held for two months.

Analysts have described those episodes — and, possibly, the attack on Saudi Arabia — as one prong of a two-pronged strategy to pressure other nations to provide sanctions relief, by showing that Iran can interrupt world oil supplies. The other prong, analysts say, is that Iran began exceeding the limits on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal.

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Trump Names Robert O’Brien, a Hostage Negotiator, as National Security Adviser

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-nsc-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Names Robert O’Brien, a Hostage Negotiator, as National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) National Security Council Bolton, John R

LOS ANGELES — President Trump on Wednesday selected Robert C. O’Brien, the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator, to become his national security adviser, moving to reconstitute his foreign policy staff even as he faces rising tension with Iran.

In choosing Mr. O’Brien to replace John R. Bolton, who left the White House last week, the president chose a Los Angeles lawyer who had impressed him with his work to extricate Americans detained by countries like North Korea and Turkey. But it is not clear how different his advice will be from his predecessor given that Mr. O’Brien previously worked for Mr. Bolton and has cited his hawkish views in the past.

Mr. Trump announced the selection on Twitter shortly after saying he would also “substantially increase Sanctions” on Iran after weekend attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that officials in Washington and the region have blamed on the Tehran government.

Mr. Trump, who is in California for a second day of campaign fund-raising, offered no elaboration on how sanctions could be increased, but the move may have been a way of offering a tough response to the attacks in Saudi Arabia without necessarily using military force. His statement came shortly after he retweeted a message defending his decision this summer to call off an airstrike on Iran.

“I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Adviser,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!”

Mr. O’Brien, a founding partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Larson O’Brien, will be Mr. Trump’s fourth national security adviser in three years, the most any president has had in a first term. He has written regularly about foreign policy and collected a series of essays into a book, “While America Slept,” published in 2016 during the last presidential campaign with a cover blurb from Mr. Bolton.

In that book, Mr. O’Brien warned of the dangers that major powers like Russia and China pose and argued against “appeasement and retreat” as he excoriated President Barack Obama for what he deemed a weak foreign policy. He compared Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran to the Munich Agreement that emboldened Adolf Hitler in 1938.

“America faces a stark choice in 2016 between a continuation of President Obama’s ‘lead-from-behind’ foreign policy and sequester-based national security approach and a return to President Reagan’s ‘leader of the free world’ foreign policy and ‘peace through strength’ national security approach,” he wrote.

Mr. O’Brien served with Mr. Bolton when he was President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations and has advised Republican candidates like Mitt Romney, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. In both the Bush and Obama administrations, Mr. O’Brien worked on an initiative to train lawyers and judges in Afghanistan.

He was appointed special presidential envoy for hostage affairs under Mr. Trump and worked to release Americans held abroad. Among those who have been freed were Andrew Brunson, a pastor held by Turkey for two years, and Danny Burch, an oil-company engineer kidnapped in Yemen and rescued in a raid by forces from the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Trump has often celebrated these releases with meetings in the Oval Office, where Mr. O’Brien praised the president lavishly.

“This wouldn’t happen with all of these hostages and detainees without the support of the president,” Mr. O’Brien said in March after Mr. Burch’s release. “The president has had unparalleled success in bringing Americans home without paying concessions, without prisoner exchanges, but through force of will and the good will that he’s generated around the world.”

Mr. Trump has often cited that praise, even taking it another step. “‘President Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States. 20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid,’” he wrote on Twitter in April, citing Mr. O’Brien.

More recently, Mr. Trump sent Mr. O’Brien to Sweden for an unusual mission of trying to win the release of the rap star ASAP Rocky, who had been arrested for criminal assault. A Swedish judge released the rapper pending a resolution of the case and a court later found him guilty; he was ordered to pay damages but did not have to spend more time behind bars.

Mr. O’Brien’s first test as national security adviser may be Iran. While Mr. Trump has hinted at military action to retaliate for the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, saying at one point that the United States was “locked and loaded” to respond, he has also said he was in no rush to use force. On Wednesday, he emphasized an economic response.

“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, without elaborating.

The president on Tuesday got into a Twitter exchange on Iran with a close ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, in which Mr. Trump defended his reluctance to authorize military action.

Mr. Graham cited the president’s decision to call off an airstrike after Iran shot down an unmanned surveillance drone, saying that was taken by Tehran as “a sign of weakness.” Mr. Trump fired back at Mr. Graham, writing, “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!”

Mr. Trump followed up on Wednesday by retweeting a post by Laura Ingraham, the conservative commentator, concurring with him. “Totally agree — a sign of weakness would be a trigger-happy reaction to the drone strike,” she wrote. “@realDonaldTrump’s right.”

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Saudi Arabia Says Iran ‘Sponsored’ Attack as Trump Vows New Sanctions

President Trump on Wednesday promised new sanctions against Iran, and Saudi Arabia presented what it called evidence of Iran’s responsibility for aerial strikes on Saudi oil processing facilities.

At a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Wednesday, the Saudi Defense Ministry presented debris from the site and videos that appeared to be from surveillance cameras on the ground.

“This attack was launched from the north, and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” said Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for ministry.

He said Saudi officials were still trying to determine exactly where the strikes originated.

In Iran, which has vehemently denied any involvement, state media reported Wednesday that American obstruction might force President Hassan Rouhani to miss a major United Nations gathering next week in New York.

The attack on Saturday, which Saudi officials said involved some two dozen drones and cruise missiles, temporarily cut Saudi oil processing in half, shaking global markets and escalating the already high level of tension between the United States and Iran, raising fears of military clashes and even outright war.

Mr. Trump has already imposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran and some of its top officials, in what the administration has described as a “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to negotiate new limitations on its nuclear program and stop its sponsorship of militant groups across the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, he wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, or whether they would be aimed at Iran generally, specific elements of the regime or individuals.

Iran and its ally, the Houthi rebel faction in Yemen, insist that the Houthis — who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war — carried out the strikes in retaliation for the extensive bombing by Saudi Arabia that has killed thousands of people in Yemen. The Houthis are known to use weapons supplied by Iran, but the attack showed a level of technological sophistication far beyond what the Houthis had demonstrated before.

American and Saudi officials have said that the weekend attack clearly used Iranian weapons. The Americans have also said that evidence that has not been made public points to a strike launched from Iran, to the north, not from Yemen, to the south.

“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so,” said Colonel al-Maliki, the Saudi spokesman.

He also said that 18 drones hit one site and four cruise missiles hit another, and that three missiles fell short.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160995843_c15a4b03-847e-4855-a7ba-ca76214b84c6-articleLarge Saudi Arabia Says Iran ‘Sponsored’ Attack as Trump Vows New Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.CreditIranian Presidency

It was not clear how the evidence shown by the Saudis indicated that the attack came from the north, or did not come from Yemen. Nor did the Saudis make it clear whether they were saying that Iran had the kind of indirect involvement, through supplying munitions and training, that it has had in previous Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia, or something more direct, like Iranian personnel taking part or the attack’s having been launched from Iran.

The Houthis have launched missiles at Saudi targets before, but none of the attacks had the scale, sophistication or practical impact of the one on Saturday.

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was even speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter between them.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to go to New York to prepare for the meeting because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said that Iran would not agree until the United States lifted economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as go-betweens because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to meet on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne and the country’s day-to-day ruler, but it was not clear whether there would be any public announcement about the talks. In a statement, the State Department said the two would “discuss the recent attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities and coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region.”

Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Last year, the president withdrew the United States from the 2015 accord limiting the scope of Iran’s nuclear program, and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal. This year, Mr. Trump has hit Iran and Iranian officials with new rounds of sanctions.

The main penalties seek to choke off Iran’s international oil sales, the heart of its economy. They bar any company doing business with Iran from using the American banking system, whose reach is so vast that Mr. Trump’s actions apply to many overseas businesses.

After Mr. Trump began imposing more sanctions this year, several tankers were damaged near the Persian Gulf, and Western governments said they had been sabotaged by Iran, which Tehran denied. Iran has also seized several foreign vessels in or near the Strait of Hormuz, including a British-flagged tanker it has held for two months.

Analysts have described those incidents — and, possibly, the attack on Saudi Arabia — as one prong of a two-pronged strategy to pressure other nations to provide sanctions relief, by showing that Iran can interrupt world oil supplies. The other prong, analysts say, is that Iran began exceeding the limits on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal.

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Trump Names Robert O’Brien, Hostage Mediator, as National Security Adviser

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-nsc-facebookJumbo Trump Names Robert O’Brien, Hostage Mediator, as National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) National Security Council Bolton, John R

LOS ANGELES — President Trump selected Robert C. O’Brien, the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator, to become his national security adviser on Wednesday, moving to reconstitute his foreign policy staff even as he faces rising tension with Iran.

Mr. Trump announced the selection on Twitter shortly after saying he would also “substantially increase Sanctions” on Iran following weekend attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that officials in Washington and the region have blamed on the Tehran government.

In choosing Mr. O’Brien to replace John R. Bolton, who left the White House last week, the president tapped a longtime lawyer who has impressed him with his work to extricate Americans detained by countries like North Korea and Turkey.

Mr. O’Brien, a founding partner of the law firm Larson O’Brien, will be Mr. Trump’s fourth national security adviser in three years, the most any president has had in a first term.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Trump Hits Back After Ally Denounces ‘Weakness’ With Iran

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — President Trump engaged in a long-distance debate over Iran with one of his closest allies on Tuesday as Republicans sought to influence the administration’s response to the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

Mr. Trump, who was in California for campaign fund-raising events, lashed out on Twitter at that ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, for calling the president’s approach to Iran too weak. But Mr. Trump declined to be drawn into repeating his more combative threats against Tehran while awaiting a definitive intelligence assessment about responsibility for the attack.

The president was responding to a series of tweets by Mr. Graham, who has long been one of the more hawkish members of the Republican conference. “The measured response by President @realDonaldTrump regarding the shooting down of an American drone was clearly seen by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness,” Mr. Graham wrote.

As his motorcade traveled to Beverly Hills for a fund-raising dinner, Mr. Trump fired back: “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!”

The exchange centered on Mr. Trump’s decision in June to call off a planned airstrike against Iranian targets in retaliation for the downing of a surveillance drone. The president aborted the attack with minutes to go, as he put it, citing a reluctance to cause the 150 casualties his advisers told him to expect.

Mr. Graham’s argument is that by blinking, Mr. Trump emboldened Iran to believe it could continue to take provocative actions without fear of penalty. It is an argument that mirrors the views of John R. Bolton, who resigned last week as national security adviser under pressure from Mr. Trump after disagreements over Iran, among other issues.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 17dc-trump2-articleLarge Trump Hits Back After Ally Denounces ‘Weakness’ With Iran United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Rouhani, Hassan Republican Party Iran Graham, Lindsey

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, last week in Washington. He has long been one of the more hawkish members of the Republican conference.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

But while Mr. Trump has mastered the art of bellicose threats, he has at times demonstrated reluctance to use military force even when advised to. He came to office promising to end America’s long-running wars, arguing that they had cost too much in blood and treasure without benefiting the United States. And so he has opted against pulling the trigger against Iran amid a series of provocations, including attacks on tankers.

His public comments on Iran since the attacks on the Saudi facilities have veered from hostile to restrained. At one point, he tweeted that the United States was “locked and loaded” and waiting only for guidance from Saudi Arabia about who and how to hit back. But he has also said he was not in a rush to go to war and was not ready yet to publicly conclude that Iran was behind the attacks.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday on Air Force One as he flew to California, Mr. Trump suggested he would not meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during the United Nations General Assembly next week in New York as he had once contemplated, but left open the possibility at a later date.

“I never rule anything out, but I prefer not meeting him” next week, Mr. Trump said.

The divergence between the president and Mr. Graham reflects the larger schism in the Republican Party between interventionist hawks and more isolationist war critics.

That debate has played out most prominently in recent days in a series of sharp barbs between Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming over the president’s efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, including an invitation to Camp David to Taliban leaders that he revoked. As they tore into each other, the two Republicans were each claiming to represent Mr. Trump’s position even as both were essentially trying to influence it. Mr. Paul appealed to Mr. Trump’s disdain for overseas wars, while Ms. Cheney argued that “America First” meant an assertive role in the world.

While once a harsh critic when they competed for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Graham has become one of Mr. Trump’s most outspoken supporters. The header photograph on his Twitter account shows him being acknowledged by the president at one of his “Keep America Great” campaign rallies. But Mr. Graham has used his links to Mr. Trump to stiffen his approach to national security.

He spoke out on Tuesday after Vice President Mike Pence briefed Senate Republicans on the Saudi attacks, a presentation that Mr. Graham said left him no doubt that Iran was the culprit.

“The problems with Iran only get worse over time so it is imperative we take decisive action to deter further aggression by the Ayatollah and his henchman,” Mr. Graham tweeted.

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