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President Trump is wielding the U.S. oil production boom and low gasoline prices as a shield against criticism over his relationship with Russia as Robert Mueller continues his probe and Democrats ramp up their inquiries.

"'Gas prices drop across the United States because President Trump has deregulated Energy and we are now producing a great deal more oil than ever before.' @foxandfriends But this is bad news for Russia, why would President Trump do such a thing? Thought he worked for Kremlin?"

My thought bubble: Russia doesn't need high oil prices as much as some other petro-states, notably Saudi Arabia. And Trump's tweet this morning is claiming way too much credit for U.S. crude oil output and gasoline prices, which currently average around $2.25 per gallon.

Reality check:

  • U.S. oil production is indeed at record levels of well over 11 million barrels per day. But the increased level is largely thanks to the shale boom that began around a decade ago as producers used advances in fracking and horizontal drilling to unlock new supplies.
  • The oil industry has welcomed Trump's deregulatory efforts, but they're not currently a major driver of total U.S. production.
  • Gasoline prices, meanwhile, largely reflect oil prices set on global markets, though the U.S. output surge is among the factors putting downward pressure on global crude prices — and hence on gasoline prices.

But, but, but: Trump can, however, claim a measure of credit for pushing the Saudis to boost output last year, which put downward pressure on prices.

Go deeper: NYT: FBI probed whether Trump was secretly working for Russia in 2017

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

6 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.