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

7 mins ago - World

Trump announces new Iran sanctions in effort to maintain international arms embargo

Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would impose sanctions on any person or entity that contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran or is engaged in providing training and financial support related to those weapons.

Why it matters: The executive order is the first step by the Trump administration to put teeth into its claim that international sanctions on Iran were restored over the weekend, one month after the U.S. initiated the "snapback" process under a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Exclusive: Conservative group launches $2M Supreme Court ad

Screengrab of ad, courtesy of Judicial Crisis Network.

The Judicial Crisis Network is launching a $2.2 million ad campaign to put pressure on vulnerable Senate Republicans in battleground states to support a quick confirmation when President Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee.

The big picture: "Follow Precedent," previewed by Axios, is one of the first national and cable television ads to run following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death Friday.

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air

CDC Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images

The CDC has removed new guidance that acknowledged airborne transmission of the coronavirus, posting in a note on its website that the guidance was only a draft and had been published in error.

Why it matters: The initial update — which was little noticed until a CNN story was published Sunday — had come months after scientists pushed for the agency to acknowledge the disease was transmissible through the air. The CDC previously said that close person-to-person contact was the bigger concern, and the language has been changed back to erase the warning about airborne transmission.