Jul 5, 2018

Iran's OPEC Minister to Trump: "Please stop" tweeting

Trump holds up a Presidential Memorandum as he announces U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

In a statement to Iranian news agency Shana on Thursday, Iran's OPEC minister, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, addressed President Trump, who has been demanding on Twitter that OPEC lower oil prices, directly, hoping to set the record straight:

"Mr. President ... OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years. Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10/[barrel]. Please stop [tweeting], otherwise it will go even higher!"

The big picture: Ardebili argued that demanding lower oil prices may actually have had a hand in driving prices higher. OPEC agreed last month to increase oil production by 600,000 barrels per day to meet demand while avoiding too high a surfeit, but Trump continues to take aim at the organization for pushing oil prices too high.

Why it matters: Trump has made it a talking point that the U.S. spends too much money defending OPEC members to be subject to high oil prices, calling for a "two way street." Ardebili challenged that notion: "[T]here [isn't] that much oil available to respond to your orders, you are hammering on the good guys in OPEC [who you claim to defend]."

After OPEC agreed to increase production late last month, Trump claimed to have made a separate deal with Saudi Arabia to increase production by up to 2 million barrels per day. That's highly unlikely (Saudi Arabia's total spare capacity, which they use prudently, believed to be roughly 2 million barrels), but Ardebili said statements like that "discredit" OPEC members and the organization as a whole.

Be smart: The demands to increase production are aggravating tensions between the U.S. and some OPEC members. Trump wants greater supply from countries like Iran and Venezuela, even while he imposes greater sanctions on their economies.

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Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republicans filed a lawsuit against California in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters ahead of the November general election.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,383,582 — Total deaths: 344,077 — Total recoveries — 2,158,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,640,972 — Total deaths: 97,679 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.