Donald Trump's Twitter wars with MSNBC's morning show and CNN have managed to blot out the sun for the better part of a week, and stole a lot of thunder from the bombshell Wall Street Journal report on alleged collusion with Russia, possibly on behalf of disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The full implications of that story have yet to play out, and could eventually result in some distraction-proof consequences for Trump, but even now, the story casts some of Trump's past actions in a new light.
For example, the prospect that Flynn may have been involved in trying to hunt down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's missing emails — and the possibility that Trump knew about it — caused many to re-think the July 27, 2016, press conference at which Trump openly encouraged Russia to hack into Clinton's emails.
But what's being overlooked is the panicked way Trump cut off NBC News reporter Katy Tur when she pressed Trump for essentially soliciting espionage on the U.S. State Department:
TUR: Does that not give you pause?
TRUMP: No, it gives me no pause. If they have them, they have them. We might as well — hey, you know what gives me more pause? That a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton — here's what gives me pause.
TUR: What if it was someone else, and not Hillary —
TRUMP: Be quiet. I know you want to save her.
That would be the last press conference Trump would have as a candidate — or even through most of his time as president-elect — despite promising several in the interim. His next full press conference would not occur until January 11, days before his inauguration.
There was so much for Trump to hide from that it was difficult to single one thing out, but in hindsight, it could have been Tur's tough questioning that spooked him into hiding.
At the time, Trump's statement was cast as a reckless utterance from a bombastic novice, but the new Flynn reporting could provide a clue for why Trump lost it on Tur like that, and then spent the entire rest of the year away from an open press conference.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR