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Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

President Trump's tweet that "oil prices are too high" and "OPEC is at it again" is timed to message the cartel to boost their production and to divert attention from a Democratic offensive on pump prices, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters now: The tweet, which follows a similar April 20 tweet when Trump accused the cartel of "artificially high" prices, comes ahead of next week's critical OPEC meeting in Vienna, where oil ministers will discuss their production-cutting agreement with Russia.

Be smart: The U.S. isn't the only country putting pressure on OPEC — Bloomberg reports that China and India are discussing ways to boost imports of U.S. crude and lessen those from OPEC "to put pressure on OPEC producers to keep prices under control."

Between the lines: I emailed with two veteran energy consultants to get their perspectives on Trump's tweet...

"I suspect that with Brent three dollars higher than his first tweet on April 20, average retail pump prices within whiskers of $3, and given recent pushback from Iran on increasing supply, President Trump wants to keep the pressure up on Riyadh to swat oil prices back this summer by signaling and delivering more barrels next week in Vienna."
— Bob McNally, president, Rapidan Energy Group
"My reading of it is that with summer here and gasoline prices still relatively high President Trump is looking to shift the blame from government and 'big oil' companies to everyone's favorite villain — OPEC."
— Ellen Wald, president, Transversal Consulting

"It also has the added benefit of taking the narrative on gas prices back from the Democrats," adds Wald, referring to how Democrats have recently been attacking Trump over pump prices.

Our thought bubble: Given the strong signals that OPEC and Russia will agree to higher output next week, it's possible that Trump's comment is a Twitter-age example of an age-old Washington tactic — taking political credit for something that's going to happen anyway.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.