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Donald Trump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Friday that "gasoline prices are coming down. I called up OPEC. I said, 'You got to bring them down. You got to bring them down.' And gasoline is coming down.'"

  • Later in the day Trump tweeted, "Spoke to Saudi Arabia and others about increasing oil flow."

But, but, but: The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump hasn't spoken with OPEC's secretary general or the oil minister with Saudi Arabia, OPEC's most powerful producer.

  • And per Bloomberg, Trump "hasn’t spoken to anyone at OPEC’s headquarters to discuss oil production."

The intrigue: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, said in a statement Saturday, "The White House is in regular contact with the world’s leading energy producing nations, including OPEC members." She added... 

"As recently as last week, White House officials met with a delegation from the Saudi Ministry of Energy, which included high-level representatives to OPEC, in Washington to discuss global oil markets and to ensure global demand is met after all Iranian oil is removed from the market."

Where it stands: Oil prices are heading downward on Monday after dropping by roughly 3% on Friday, a stark contrast to the price spike that followed last Monday's announcement of tighter sanctions against Iran.

  • “The U.S. president clearly on-boarded the Saudis before tightening the screws on Iran,” PVM Oil Associates' Stephen Brennock tells Bloomberg.

The big picture: Trump has often prodded OPEC via Twitter to argue for lower oil prices.

  • The latest comments arrive at a tricky time for the administration, which is seeking to choke off more of Iran's crude exports without seeing rises in consumer costs that create domestic political risks.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”