Here's where things stand heading into Day 46 of the Trump administration:

President Donald Trump's top aides expected it to be a quiet weekend.

They were wrong.

In a series of tweets, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of orchestrating a plot to tap the phones at Trump Tower in the run-up to the November election.

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Trump, who cited no evidence to support his claim, compared the alleged operation to "Nixon/Watergate" and McCarthyism:

Trump tweeted, "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

Then he wrote, "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!"

He also tweeted, "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!"

And: "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

These tweets seemed to come out of nowhere. But now we know that Trump had spent the prior day steaming with anger.

Here's a recap of what led to the outburst.

Last week, after what was greeted as a successful speech to Congress by many on the right, Trump found his positive news cycle stamped out by the revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken twice last year to Russia's ambassador to the United States, something Sessions did not reveal during his confirmation hearing.

Under pressure from critics, Sessions subsequently decided to recuse himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump was deeply unhappy with this outcome. He proceeded to upbraid his senior staff in the Oval Office on Friday, "believing that Sessions had succumbed to pressure from the media and other critics instead of fighting with the full defenses of the White House," our colleagues wrote.

That afternoon, Trump departed Washington for his property in Palm Beach, Florida. By early the next morning, he was making his accusations on Twitter.

Trump lambasted his aides at the White House last week. Photo / AP
Trump lambasted his aides at the White House last week. Photo / AP

WHERE DID TRUMP'S CLAIM COME FROM?

It's hard to know exactly what inspired Trump to make the wiretapping accusation against Obama.

It is possible, however, he was referring to commentary from Breitbart News and conservative talk radio suggesting the Obama administration used "police state" tactics to monitor the Trump team last year.

The tweets might have also been a strategic move by Trump, as has been his practice in the past, to distract from last week's negative news cycle surrounding Sessions.

His allegation was met with broad skepticism in top Washington circles. Here's just a sampling of that reaction:

A spokesman for Obama, Kevin Lewis, said "neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen."

Senior officials familiar with the Justice Department probe into Russian election interference said there had been no wiretap of Trump.

FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to issue a statement refuting Trump's claim.

Republicans appearing on the Sunday morning talk shows said they weren't aware of any evidence for it.

Current and former intelligence officials, as our colleagues reported, were doubtful.

"It's highly unlikely there was a wiretap," said one former senior intelligence official who spoke candidly on the condition of anonymity.

"It seems unthinkable. If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power."

Regardless, the White House is not backing down: On Sunday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer called for a congressional probe of the allegations.

COMING UP NEXT: A REVISED TRAVEL BAN

It's time for a travel ban redux - assuming the controversy from the weekend doesn't overtake it.

Now, the White House is preparing to unveil a new version of Trump's travel ban, one Trump aides say will address some of the concerns raised by federal judges.

As a reminder, Trump's original policy barred entry to the United States for residents of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees around the world. It was suspended in federal court.

We have some idea of what the new policy might look like.

To start, it's expected to exempt current visa holders - a major departure from Trump's first executive order - and remove an exception designed to allow in refugees from religious minority groups. The Post also reported last week that the new order will not include a blanket ban on citizens from Iraq.

The unveiling is expected to happen on Monday (US time).