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Evan Vucci / AP

Trump's unwillingness to back off his wiretapping tweet (now two weeks old!) is exacerbating differences with allies abroad and exasperating allies on the Hill, while heightening the risk of embarrassment when investigations are complete.

Until now, Trump and his team have been able to lob claims with impunity or even to advantage — distracting the opposition and media, or adding to the rogue image that enthralls his voters.

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

But the tipping point may be the White House suggestion that British spies were involved in surveilling Trump Tower — with the White House citing a Fox News commentary when even Fox says, via Shep Smith:

"Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop."

Shep Smith: "Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that POTUS was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop." pic.twitter.com/GxKSJJGD7D— Axios (@axios) March 17, 2017

The lead of today's N.Y. Times says British officials are "livid."

Sean Spicer told reporters during a brief gaggle in the East Room: "I don't think we regret anything. We literally listed a litany of media reports that are in the public domain."

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Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.