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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Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim watson/Getty Images

President Trump, speaking from a podium at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday announced that he is prepared to issue executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of 2020, and halting student loan interest and payments indefinitely.

Why it matters: The impending orders come after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon. But Trump said he remains committed to striking a deal with Congress on a broader stimulus package before signing the orders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,193,661 — Total deaths: 716,735 — Total recoveries — 11,611,029Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,918,927 — Total deaths: 160,737 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump: "We are going a different way" on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watsonn/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration is "going a different way" with coronavirus aid after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again, suggesting he will use an executive order to address stimulus spending.

What he's saying: "Pelosi and Schumer only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states. Nothing to do with China Virus! Want one trillion dollars. No interest. We are going a different way!" Trump tweeted.