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Both event happened more or less at the same time. I wonder if this is a coincidence or actually a coordinated set of events?

In particular, was the summit arranged by Trump at the same time as the hearing, perhaps to distract attention from it? Or is it perhaps the opposite, i.e. Congress timing the hearing when the summit was taking place, so as to undermine Trumps' potential success in the NK issue?

Is there any evidence of any arrangement of this sort?

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  • I am speculating that it has more to do with the 2020 presidential season. The Cohen meeting is step one of a 12 month plan for primary season effect. I think it is a coincidence because it would be too hard to precisely plan either event. For example, Trump had a magic wand so that he could control the schedule of 2 sovereign countries (Vietnam and N. Korea) to coincide with the hearing, or did the congressional leader have a magic wand that could control the justice department and the schedule of numerous congress people? Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 14:04
  • Maybe it's better to rephrase it asking if there's evidence that someone coordinated it to be like this. It's hard to prove something is coincidence but in the differently phrased question we could say there is no such evidence.
    – JJJ
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 14:08
  • @JJJ Yes, but that's partly what I'm asking at the end, by the examples I give.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 16:23
  • Let’s put it this way: has there been any time since Election Day that Trump hasn’t been investigated for wrongdoing?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:08
  • @AndrewGrimm what are you getting at? It only took a few months before President Obama was under many investigations. Then of course there is the rumour (by Trump) that he sent people to investigate Obama in the birtherism situation.
    – JJJ
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:17

1 Answer 1

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It's highly unlikely it was anything but a coincidence. While they both happened on the same day, it's important to remember that neither event can simply be executed on short notice. Consider

Congressional Testimony

Requires scheduling of

  • The committee members (typically a dozen or so members)
  • The person testifying

Cohen was originally set to testify on Feb 7 but that was postponed by Cohen, who felt threatened by Trump and his legal team. On Feb 20, Cohen accepted Feb 27 as a new date.

Diplomatic Events

Requires scheduling of

  • The President
  • The foreign entourage (in this case DPRK officials, who prefer to travel by train)
  • The host country

The summit was announced in Jan, and appears to have been set for the 27th on Feb 16, some 4 days before Cohen's revised date.

In order for this to not be a coincidence, you would have to believe that Cohen or Democrats wanted to do this opposite the larger story of the Summit. That makes little sense, since it would mean less coverage of Cohen's testimony, which would diminish its effectiveness in damaging Trump.

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  • 1
    I agree that this was likely coincidental, but your last paragraph also allows the possibility that they wanted to diminish the positive coverage of the summit, rather than be diminished by it as you put it.
    – Geobits
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 15:31
  • 3
    @Geobits Not really. Trump's story had the potential to be much larger and overshadow the Cohen story entirely. Indeed. some were afraid Trump would take any deal just to have one to dominate the news cycle. Trump walking away empty-handed left some oxygen for the Cohen story
    – Machavity
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 15:43
  • @Geobits: That assumes that the Democrats thought there would be positive coverage of the summit. Given the last one, with Trump cozying up to Kim, that seemed rather unlikely. Of course "positive" is subjective, but it seems likely that the Democrats would have thought that the summit would have reflected unfavorably on Trump.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 19:44
  • Oh, I agree that that isn't likely. I was just pointing out that I don't think the last paragraph is a particularly good argument. Overall the answer is good.
    – Geobits
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:14
  • 2
    @Geobits For the sake of clarity I've reworded the last paragraph to make it clear why competing with the Summit wasn't beneficial to Democrats or Cohen
    – Machavity
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:20

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