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President Trump and King Salman at the 2017 Arabic Islamic American Summit. Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump said on Twitter Saturday morning that King Salman of Saudi Arabia has agreed to increase its oil production by as much as 2 million barrels per day "because of the turmoil and disfunction in Iran and Venezuela."

The big picture, from Axios' Ben Geman: A number of analysts have pointed out that, by publicly pressing OPEC for higher production in recent weeks and months, Trump could be seeking to gain politically from a production-increase that the cartel and Russia were slated to make anyway, because the market has tightened considerably. Elevated oil prices — and hence, higher gasoline prices than in recent years — could be politically perilous for Republicans in an election year.

Yes, but: If what Trump says is accurate, and Salman did agree to the 2 million barrels, it would be a surprising development because it goes well beyond the production hike that OPEC and Russia agreed to during careful negotiations in Vienna, which concluded June 23. Pumping that much would also erode Saudi Arabia's spare production capacity.

  • Saudi Arabia released a statement on President Trump and King Salman's phone call, saying they "stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets, the growth of the global economy, and the efforts of producing countries to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies."
  • No specific promise was made to Trump, a Saudi official told the WSJ.

Go deeper with Ben on Trump's pyrrhic OPEC outcome.

Go deeper

54 mins ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.