TRUMP STRIKES BACK: U.S. DROPS ‘MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS’ ON ISLAMIC STATE AFTER MARINE IS KILLED FIGHTING ISIS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump ordered the drop of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military’s arsenal on Thursday in response to the death of a U.S. Marine.

The The MOAB — Massive Ordinance Air Blast — also known as the “Mother of All Bombs” was dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS there, a U.S. defense official has confirmed.

It was the first time the a 21,000-pound bomb had been utilized since it’s development in 2003.

“The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” the Pentagon said in a statement, referencing the term for the Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch.

In a statement from the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer said the strike targeted a “system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely.” Spicer added that the U.S. “took all precautions necessary” to minimize civilian casualties.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb at Trump’s direction, according to the sources.

Trump, during his presidential campaign, had famously vowed to “bomb the sh-t” out of ISIS if elected.

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PUTIN CAVES: RUSSIAN LEADER MEETS WITH TILLERSON IN ‘TENSE’ EXCHANGE DESPITE EARLIER REFUSAL

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian president Vladimir Putin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today in an apparent about face.

Putin, who had earlier in the week refused to meet with Tillerson amid tensions over the American strike on Syria, spoke with Tillerson in Moscow for nearly two hours, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson has confirmed.

The meeting comes after harsh words by president Trump toward Russia, who he claims assisted Syria in a deadly chemical strike on Syrian civilians that killed dozens of people.

“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal (Syrian president Bashar al-Assad), you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” said Trump.

Sources with close knowledge of the meeting said that Tillerson pushed Putin to cooperate with the United States in helping to bring Syria under control. Despite a long standing friendship between Tillerson and Putin, the meeting was described as “tense”.

During the 24 hour period leading up to Tillerson’s landing in Moscow, the White House accused the Russian government of hiding evidence that proved al-Assad was responsible the gassing of his own people, launched from a base where Russian troops are operating.

In a statement, an angry Putin shot back that the charge was fabricated and accused President Trump, who American media claimed had collaborated with Putin to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election, of fabricating the evidence to create a fake confrontation.

“This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when U.S. representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,” said Putin, referring to intelligence that Mr. Trump has also cited in recent months. “The exact same thing is happening now,” he argued.

Sean Spicer, when asked about to expect in regard to the meeting between Tillerson and Putin on Wednesday, said Tillerson was expected to focus on the mutual interests of the United States and Russia but that Tillerson would also put Putin on notice that the U.S. will not tolerate further acts of aggression by Russia or their Syrian ally.

“I think there is a shared interest in defeating ISIS in the region that we have a national security concern that should align with their national security concern,” he said. “Russia right now is an island. It’s Russia, North Korea and Iran … Russia is among that group the only non-failed state.”

Russia is only “isolating” itself by standing by Assad, he added.

The Kremlin had said earlier in the week that Putin would not meet with Mr. Tillerson upon his arrival, but on Wednesday the Russian leader’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said Putin would “consider” meeting with Tillerson at some point “depending on how Tillerson’s other talks” went.

As a matter of protocol, Russian leaders have greeted virtually all new secretaries of state since the end of World War II, and the initial refusal was considered to be a major snub to U.S. Russian relations and was cited by many political experts as a an effort by Mr. Putin to show Tillerson that just who was in control.

Before heading back behind closed doors, Putin and Tillerson shared a stiff handshake and made no eye contact.

Russia has said that despite U.S. concerns, they will continue to back their Syrian ally and will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that al-Assad has the military backing necessary to thwart off another U.S. attack.

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TAKING DOWN ISIS: TRUMP REVERSES OBAMA’S POLICY ON DRONE STRIKES; RETURNS LAUNCH AUTHORITY TO CIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In yet another hit to the legacy of former president Barack Obama, president Donald Trump has again authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists, a direct reversal to the policy once held under the Obama administration.

U.S. officials announced the change in policy on Tuesday in what the Trump administration says is a move to step up the fight against Islamic State and other militant groups.

Under the policies of the former Obama administration, the CIA used drones and other intelligence resources to locate suspected terrorists but only military agents were authorized to carry out an actual strike.

According to the feds, the agency first utilized its new authority to strike in late February in an attack on a senior al Qaeda leader in Syria, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri. The strike in northern Syria on Mr. Masri, a son-in-law of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had been reported, but the fact that the CIA was the agency behind the strike was not reported until this week.

Upon hearing the announcement, a spokesman for the ACLU was quick to criticize the president’s change in policy.

“There are a lot of problems with the drone program and the targeted killing program, but the CIA should be out of the business of ordering lethal strikes,” said Christopher Anders, deputy director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That decision on whether to strike or not to strike, and that order should be coming from through the military chain of command. The CIA should be a foreign intelligence gathering and analysis organization — not a paramilitary one,” he said.

Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the CIA declined to issue further comment.

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