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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
9 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.