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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.