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Trump: US ‘locked and loaded’ against attackers of Saudi oil facility ‘depending on verification’; Iran denies involvement

President Trump on Sunday suggested U.S. investigators had “reason to believe” they knew who launched crippling attacks against a key Saudi oil facility, and vowed that America was “locked and loaded depending on verification.” While he did not specify in his tweet who he believed See More was responsible for Saturday’s drone attacks, U.S. investigators previously have pointed the finger at Iran. For its part, Iran has denied the allegations. Earlier Sunday, Trump authorized the use of emergency oil reserves in Texas and other states after Saudi oil processing facilities were attacked, sparking fears of a spike in oil prices when markets reopen Monday.

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Trump: US ‘locked and loaded’ against attackers of Saudi oil facility ‘depending on verification’; Iran denies involvement

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New Border wall in ‘smuggler’s gulch’ is working according to CBP agents

Justin De La Torre stated a steep, open canyon between San Diego and Tijuana has been used for decades by immigrants to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Mexico.

“It has an anti-climb feature, it’s made of steel, it also has a concrete base that prevents digging from underneath, and now we’re able to control this area with the new infrastructure.”

According to California Border Patrol agents, new infrastructure in an area known as “smuggler’s gulch” is making a difference.

President Trump moved to replace the fencing along the San Diego border earlier this year as his administration sped up moves to build taller, stronger border reinforcement.

“This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier — not just a simple concrete wall,”

said the president.

“It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.”

Numerous wall construction projects are underway across the Southwest border, including projects in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. — CBP (@CBP) August 25, 2019

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stepped off a plane and into a crowd of protesters Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport who chanted “free the children” as he waited for his luggage. The chant was a reference to detention centers at the southern border. The Texas conservative has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump’s border security policies. Cruz can be seen in video posted to Twitter smiling, shaking a few hands and even taking pictures with some fellow travelers as the group chanted.

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Nonetheless, the incident was used to highlight a lack of coordination between the White House and the intelligence community with Coats often being the bearer of bad news. President Trump was vocal about his disagreements with Coats, reportedly telling him behind the scenes to stay quiet about threats of Russian meddling and even calling him out publicly in certain settings.

“Can you give me an example, other than Donald Trump, where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? …You can’t find it because, I’ll tell you why, it doesn’t exist.” 

On Sunday, President Trump announced Republican Representative John Ratcliffe will take over as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Ratcliffe has long been considered to be a Trump ally, but apparently made an impression during his interrogation of Robert Mueller. He had this to say during the hearing:

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The latest change at the DNI could be a sign that the president is looking to downsize the department altogether in order to concentrate on information sharing efforts. Coats is expected to leave the department on Thursday, August 15th with the president saying an active director will be named in the near future.

There’s another shake-up in the Trump administration, with the latest move likely having a trickle-effect throughout the rest of the government.
The Texas congressman was already a rising star in the Republican Party after winning his election with more than 70-percent of the vote in the 2018 midterms. Ratcliffe was facing off against other high profile officials for the job, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford. He also challenged Fred Fleitz, the former Chief of Staff for National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ratcliffe will now be elevated to a post where the current official, Dan Coats, has often been at odds with the president and his administration. Perhaps the most memorable event during his tenure was his response after learning President Trump invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House. When asked about the invitation he laughed and acted as if it were a joke. Coats later said he meant no disrespect to the White House and admitted the exchange was somewhat awkward.

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