Apr 21, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump says he’ll help beleaguered oil industry

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that the Energy and Treasury departments will “formulate a plan” to help the oil and gas industry, which is imploding as a result of rock-bottom prices.

Reality check: Trump’s policy levers are limited in nature and cannot change the overall downward trajectory of oil prices, which have spiraled dramatically as the coronavirus has choked off demand for oil.

One level deeper: Trump renewed his push Monday for the government to buy roughly 75 million barrels of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — or, alternatively, offer part of the SPR as basically a rental storage unit for U.S. companies.

  • "This is a great time to buy oil," Trump said. Congress has not funded the effort thus far in its coronavirus relief bills.
  • Trump also touted plans to use the SPR as storage space. "We're going to ... either ask for permission to buy it, or we'll store it," he said.
  • The Energy Department last week said it's negotiating with nine companies to store roughly 23 million barrels of oil in the SPR.

What we’re watching: What kinds of policies are born out of Trump’s tweet.

  • Trump's reference to the Treasury Department indicates he may try to give some sort of fiscal or tax relief, which could help some companies but won’t provide an overall lift to the sector.
  • The president has also floated taxing imports of oil, which countries like Saudi Arabia are opposed to.

Go deeper

Family-commissioned autopsy says George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

Why it matters: The autopsy contradicts preliminary findings from the Hennepin County medical examiner, who found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation,” according to charging documents against Chauvin. The official examination is still ongoing.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets

President Trump berated the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call Monday, calling many of them "weak" and demanding tougher crackdowns on the protests that erupted throughout the country following the killing of George Floyd, according to audio of the call.

The latest: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Monday that Trump's call for law enforcement to "dominate" protesters referred to "dominating the streets" with a robust National Guard presence in order to maintain the peace.

2 hours ago - World

Kremlin says Trump discussed inviting Russia to G7 in call with Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.