The first impeachment of former President Donald Trump was centered on an allegation that he had improperly attempted to influence a foreign government to act in a way that would be politically beneficial to him and his fellow Republicans ahead of an election.
Now President Joe Biden stands accused of doing essentially the exact same thing, as reports indicate that he unsuccessfully urged Saudi Arabia to temporarily delay oil production cuts in order to prevent gas prices from increasing right before the midterm elections, The Western Journal reported.
Had OPEC+ delayed its recent announcement of substantial cuts to oil production, a further spike in the already elevated gas prices — which are perceived as politically detrimental to Biden and his fellow Democrats — would have similarly been delayed until after the elections had concluded, presumably bettering the odds of the Democratic Party to reduce losses and potentially even retain control of one or more chambers of Congress.
Biden asked Saudis to delay oil production cuts until after the election
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that, according to unnamed sources, officials in President Biden’s administration had reached out to their Saudi counterparts just days before the announced oil production cut by OPEC+ and urged them to hold off on announcing that cut for at least another month, which would have the effect of delaying the resultant increase in gas prices until after the midterm elections.
The Saudis reportedly said “No” to those urgent requests and proceeded with the OPEC+ production cut announcement on Oct. 5, which spurred furious recriminations from the White House and baseless accusations that the Saudis were siding with the Russians — who happen to be an OPEC+ member nation — with regard to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The allegations put forward by the Journal of the requested delay were seemingly confirmed just one day later in a lengthy statement issued on Wednesday by the Saudi kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that was intended to “clarify” its position on certain matters, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and whether the announced production cuts were “politically motivated” against the U.S.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the statements issued about the Kingdom following the OPEC+ decision. pic.twitter.com/Bo7JVPDzFo
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 12, 2022
Saudi statement clarifies kingdom’s position
The Associated Press reported that in regard to the requested delay to production cuts, the Saudi statement said, “The government of the kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the U.S. administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences.”
As to the purported pressure campaign by U.S. officials and subsequent accusations against the Saudis, the statement continued, “The kingdom stresses that while it strives to preserve the strength of its relations with all friendly countries, it affirms its rejection of any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility,” and added, “Resolving economic challenges requires the establishment of a non-politicized constructive dialogue, and to wisely and rationally consider what serves the interests of all countries.”
The Saudi statement also dismissed the accusations that it had sided with Russia in its conflict against Ukraine, and pointed to its previously expressed condemnation of Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and votes in support of United Nations resolutions on the matter.
White House admits it asked for a delay on production cuts
The AP further reported that the White House has also now admitted and confirmed that it requested a delay to the OPEC+ production cut announcement, though that admission from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby sought to spin that request in a positive and non-political manner.
“We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets, and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed,” Kirby told the outlet, and without naming names, added, “Other OPEC nations communicated to us privately that they also disagreed with the Saudi decision, but felt coerced to support Saudi’s direction.”