There are few things that Donald Trump excels at more than manipulating the media. In this, he is a god. He knows how they think. He knows how they will react. He knows how to divert their attention. For Trump, it's like taking candy from a baby.
Yesterday, the New York Times released a damaging article that blatantly accused Trump of selling missiles to the Ukraine in exchange for dropping four investigations into Manafort that involved possible ties to Trump colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election. The article went further in reporting that Ukrainian officials also allowed key witnesses to the alleged collusion to return to Russia so that Mueller could not interview them, and that Ukraine prosecutors are now refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
This is a bombshell of a story. So, why is the press not covering it? Because Trump threw them a sex scandal bone.
This tactic is used by Trump every time severely damaging reports about possible Russian collusion come to light. Think back to the Access Hollywood tape: the Obama Administration released information of how the Russians were interfering with the 2016 election. Within hours, the "grab them by the pussy" tape came out. The press immediately focused solely on that tape and neglected the Russian story.
Now we have an article out about Trump selling missiles to Ukraine in a quid pro quo to keep witnesses and authorities from cooperating with the Mueller investigation. The New York Times published this article around 5:47pm yesterday:
In Ukraine, where officials are wary of offending President Trump, 4 cases that involve Paul Manafort have been effectively frozen by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor https://t.co/IB0lxgkAwD
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 3, 2018
Sean Hannity announced that Giuliani would be on his show for an entire hour roughly 30 minutes prior:
Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins me for the entire hour tonight to share the inside story from President Trump’s legal team. Tune in to #hannity at 9:00 PM ET. This is a show you do NOT want to miss!
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 3, 2018
It is standard for media to notify the White House of such damaging articles to get a response from them. Though the article fails to state they did so, I would assume that they did and the administration had advanced warning of its release. My inquiries into this have yet to be answered by the Times.
Trump knows that the press cannot focus. He knows they will drop everything for a salacious sex scandal story. Just like the Access Hollywood tape, the press has once again been distracted. Once Giuliani stated that Trump knew about the $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels, nothing has been reported on the Ukrainian quid pro quo story. It has affectively been buried.
The media seems perplexed by why Trump would lie about the payment and then order Giuliani to go on Hannity's show and say he knew the whole time. If they would learn from their past mistakes and from Trump's strategic moves to manipulate their coverage, then they would know this smells of another familiar, Trump distraction tactic.
After all, a sexual payoff scandal is far less serious than treason.