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Olivier Douliery / AP

How "normal" once looked:

"TRUMP CLAIMS OBAMA TAPPED HIS PHONES IN 'NIXON/WATERGATE' OPERATION." Broadcast networks cut in, Congress stops everything to investigate, the wheels of government grind to a halt. AP might alert: "President Trump today, inspired by the musings of a right-wing radio host, ... "

Cue this morning: It's just Trump being Trump, waking up on a Saturday morning at Mar-a-lago with a slow schedule, and key advisers back in D.C. And to 40% of America, it's plausibly true.

Trump's tweetstorm, in one graf::

"The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs ... Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! ... Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. ... Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! ... I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! ... How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show."

The flurry looks like it was inspired by a Breitbart article yesterday by Joel Pollak: "Mark Levin to Congress: Investigate Obama's 'Silent Coup' vs. Trump."

Bob Costa tweets: "I've confirmed that several people at the White House have been circulating this Breitbart story."

The reaction ... N.Y. Times columnist Tom Friedman to Michael Smerconish on CNN: "Trump ... could as easily have woken up at Mar-a-lago this morning and said: "I saw a UFO fly over.' ... If you're going to make that allegation, you go to the head of the FBI, NSA, CIA and say: 'Here are the facts.'""

Word of the day: "besieged" ... Maggie Haberman: "Trump, according to his advisers inside and outside of the White House, has felt besieged by what he regards as a mostly hostile bureaucracy, consisting in part of Democrats and people who opposed his election who are now undermining his presidency with leaks."

"'That is the real story,' said Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, when asked for comment on how the White House views the constant string of stories based on what they have called leaks."

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.