Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih (Michel Euler/AP)

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih told BBC News that he welcomes the Trump administration as bullish for the oil industry.

Trump repeatedly blasted Saudi Arabia during his campaign, blaming the country for the 9-11 attacks and arguing that the U.S. must achieve "complete" energy independence and get out from under the influence of "our enemies and the oil cartels."

Why it matters: It's easy to criticize fundamentalist Saudi Arabia from the campaign trail for its human rights abuses and because it's the epicenter of Wahabi Muslim ideology, which fuels much of the world's religiously-inspired terrorism. But the Arabian kingdom remains an indispensable source of stability in the global energy markets and a geopolitical partner in the Middle East.

Fun fact: al-Falih said he's excited to work with new Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a fellow graduate of Texas A&M.

Go deeper

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

A coronavirus alarm bell is going off in the Midwest

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Positive rate shown is the 7-day average from June 1 to Aug. 6, 2020; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A cluster of states in the Midwest are seeing more of their coronavirus tests coming back positive — potentially an early indicator of a growing outbreak.

The state of play: A high positive rate means that a higher share of those getting tested are sick. That could be because there are more sick people, or because a state isn't doing enough testing.