epa06664208 Attorney Michael Cohen, US President Donald J. Trump's long-time personal attorney, walks from his hotel to his apartment in New York, New York,...

Trump’s favorite tabloid sends a clear signal to Michael Cohen

When someone in Donald Trump’s orbit faces scandals that cannot be easily explained away, two things tend to happen. The first is that the president and his team downplay any real association with the person in question, effectively pretending Trump barely knows him or her.

We’ve seen this on multiple occasions – see Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos, among others – and a similar push is underway with Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer. Despite their close associations, the president dismissed the relevance of the work his lawyer has done on his behalf, saying Cohen has handled “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of Trump’s overall legal work.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 3/24/17, 9:47 PM ET

Harsh National Enquirer story ominous for Flynn

The close relationship between Donald Trump and the National Enquirer means that when the Enquirer is publishing harsh stories about Michael Flynn, there’s good chance they’re reflecting Trump’s views, which is not a good thing for Flynn.
But there’s something else that happens when someone close to the president runs into trouble: the National Enquirer, Trump’s allied supermarket tabloid, takes aim at the controversial figure.

When Michael Flynn was forced to resign, the National Enquirer  went after him. When Paul Manafort ran into legal trouble, he too graced a National Enquirer cover in an unflattering way.

All of which leads to the tabloid’s newest edition. USA Today  reported:

If the National Enquirer is a weathervane for unfolding events in Trumpland, embattled lawyer Michael Cohen may be heading for a rendezvous with a bus. […]

[I]n its cover story, the Enquirer’s front-page headline trumpets “Trump Fixer’s Secrets & Lies,” with a subhead reading: “Payoffs and threats exposed.”

For what it’s worth, the tabloid’s article doesn’t appear to “expose” anything we didn’t already know about Cohen and his many troubles, but that’s not really the point.

What matters is the fact that the National Enquirer keeps going after those close to Trump after they become politically inconvenient to the White House.

As Rachel explained on the show last year, the tabloid may not be a reliable source for news, but it’s become “a little bit of a Rosetta stone for decoding where this White House is going next.”

And in this case, where Team Trump appears to be going is away from Michael Cohen.

Conservative Media and Donald Trump

Trump's favorite tabloid sends a clear signal to Michael Cohen