Nov 29, 2017

Report: Trump still raising birther claims, other conspiracy theories

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office last November. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump has continued to raise a number of conspiracy theories, including that Barack Obama's birth certificate may have been faked and that he lost the popular vote due to millions of people voting illegally, in closed door meetings, the NY Times' Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin report.

Trump has also raised a new conspiracy theory, per the report: that it was not his voice on the Access Hollywood tape in which he jokes about sexual assault. During the campaign, Trump admitted it was him on the tape, and finally dropped the birther claims after five years.

One anonymous Republican senator confirmed that Trump had raised the birther theory, and the White House didn't push back on the story.

  • One startling line: "Mr. Trump's journeys into the realm of manufactured facts have been frequent enough that his own staff has sought to nudge friendly lawmakers to ask questions of Mr. Trump in meetings that will steer him toward safer terrain."
  • Summing it up: "The Mr. Trump's falsehoods about the 'Access Hollywood' tape are part of his lifelong habit of attempting to create and sell his own version of reality."

Meanwhile the Washington Post reports tonight that Trump "has expressed certainty that the special-counsel probe into his campaign's possible collusion with Russia will be finished by the end of the year, complete with an exoneration from Robert S. Mueller III, according to several friends who have spoken with him in recent days."

What to watch for: "One outside adviser to Trump warned that the president would 'blow a gasket' if there was no statement of exoneration by year's end."

Go deeper

Trump acknowledges lists of disloyal government officials to oust

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Monday acknowledged the existence of assembled lists of government officials that his administration plans to oust and replace with trusted pro-Trump people, which were first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan.

What he's saying: “I don’t think it's a big problem. I don’t think it's very many people,” Trump said during a press conference in India, adding he wants “people who are good for the country, loyal to the country.”

Coronavirus only part of the story behind the Dow’s drop

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

As someone has certainly told you by now, the Dow fell by more than 1,000 points yesterday, its worst day in more than two years, erasing all of 2020's gains. Most news headlines assert that the stock market's momentum was finally broken by "coronavirus fears," but that's not the full story.

What's happening: The novel coronavirus has been infecting and killing scores of people for close to a month and, depending on the day, the market has sold off or risen to record highs.

Bernie's historic Jewish fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sen. Bernie Sanders would be the first Jewish presidential nominee of a major American political party — but that history-making possibility is being overshadowed by his conflicts with America's Jewish leaders and Israel's leadership.

The big picture: That's partly because we're all focusing on the implications of Democrats nominating a self-described democratic socialist. It's also because a candidate's religion no longer seems to matter as much to voters or the media, making the potential milestone of a Jewish nominee more of a non-event.