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President Trump won't admit it, but he's taking credit for something President Obama did. In a speech at the Energy Department Thursday, Trump is expected to tout America's oil and natural gas boom, and in particular how his administration is green lighting exports of liquified natural gas (LNG), which has been a presidential talking point for the last few months.

But it was actually the Obama administration that approved nearly all of the LNG poised to be exported, and Trump is so far just reiterating what his predecessor did.

Expand chart

Why it matters: The Trump administration has displayed a lot of positive rhetoric about LNG exports, but so far it hasn't made any explicit policy changes to how the federal government reviews applications for LNG. An Energy Department spokeswoman declined on Wednesday to say whether Trump will make any related policy announcements in his speech Thursday.

How it works: Under current law, countries that do have free-trade agreements with the U.S. get a near automatic approval from the federal government to receive U.S. LNG. Applications seeking to export to countries that aren't free-trade partners with the U.S. must go through a two-step review process to show such exports are in the U.S. national interest. The Energy Department has approved additional LNG export applications under Trump, continuing what Obama did.

What's already done: Under Obama, the Energy Department rejiggered the way federal reviews are done to speed up — not slow down — the whole process, to the chagrin of some environmental groups. In 2014, the Energy Department cut down the process, which also involves the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, from three steps to two.

What more could be done: Rhetoric encouraging countries, like China, to import LNG from the U.S. has been the main thing Trump is doing so far. To really change things, Trump could do one of the following things:

  1. Push Congress to change the 1938 law governing exports of LNG, which is unlikely given lawmakers' unwillingness to change most long-standing laws.
  2. Further condense the federal review process.
  3. Strike more free-trade deals, which seems unlikely given his positions on current trade deals.

To be sure: Obama took credit for things his predecessor did too. In 2011, he was touting increased offshore oil and natural gas production, even though a top official in his administration at the time said such increases were due to policies his predecessor, George W. Bush, put in place that increased access to federal waters.

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 8 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.”