The One Thing You Need to Know About Trump's War on Take-a-Knee Athletes

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The Distracter-in-Chief.
The Distracter-in-Chief.

The one thing you need to know about President Trump's war of words with take-a-knee athletes: Russia.

Though Trump has played the Hey-look-over-here game before as his administration has bogged down in scandals and failures, his Friday declaration at an Alabama rally that professional athletes who join protest kneel-ins during the playing of the national anthem should be fired has arguably succeeded like no other Trumpian distraction.

Trump got the whole media-industrial-complex to pivot to the controversy just as the Mueller investigation of Russian influence on the presidential election has been dramatically escalating. Yes, Trump's attack on knee-taking protests also distracts from other Trump administration albatrosses, such as the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, but Trump gives himself an easy out on that front: He simply disowns the problem, acts like it's yet another fumble by GOP party leadership and then points to a villain—in this case, Sen. John McCain, whose decision to oppose the latest repeal effort Trump called "honestly terrible" at the Alabama rally.

But the Russian scandal is harder to brush off (Trump's only strategy seems to be to call it "fake" over and over again). Speaking of which, what is happening with that whole thing? In case you're foggy on the details thanks to the latest activation of the Trump Distract-o-Matic, well, Seth Meyers offers this crisp summary in his latest "A Closer Look" segment from Friday night's "Late Night."

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