It was a classic screen moment for the media.
In fact, it called for triple screens.
President Trump had landed in Vietnam for his summit with Kim Jong Un. This second meeting will test whether North Korea is actually planning to take concrete steps towards abandoning nuclear weapons or whether its dictator is simply pursuing a deflection and delay strategy. At stake: The potential elimination of one of the world's leading nuclear threats and a possible peace agreement more than six decades after the Korean War Army.
But there was no match for Michael Cohen.
The President's one-time lawyer had arrived at the Senate yesterday to testify to closed doors, a prelude to his television housekeeping today.
MSNBC literally had a screen shot of Trump coming out of the plane in Hanoi and Cohen went down a Capitol Hill hallway.
CNN had a countdown timer up to 23 hours before his public testimony.
Cohen was already making news as the core of his planned testimony was given in advance to major news organizations. And it gave its story, yes, a nuclear power plant.
Cohen, The New York Times said, "planning to portray his final client on highly negative terms as he testifies on Wednesday before a house committee and to describe what he says was Mr. Trump's use of racist language, lies about his wealth and possible criminal behavior."
Cohen, The Washington Post said, "is expected to describe to lawmakers what he sees as Trump's lies, racism and cheating, both as president and private business, and will describe" personal, behind-the-scenes & # 39; interactions, " he saw, someone who is familiar with the matter said. "
And even though the president was halfway around the world, his white house played defense on the second story with a statement by Sarah Sanders:
"Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is imprisoned for lying to Congress and making other false statements. Unfortunately, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It is ridiculous that someone would take a convicted liar as Cohen on his words and pathetically watching him give another opportunity to spread his lies. "
What is fascinating about this statement is that it is the Republican President of the Senate Intel Committee, Richard Burr, who convenes Cohen. And Robert Mueller is also dependent on Cohen's accounts.
Of course, Coh's credibility will come under attack as he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. It's part of the reason why Cohen will start a three-year prison term in May, though he may hope his testimony asks prosecutors to request a sentence reduction.
Cohen's efforts to rehabilitate his image are simple: I lied before to protect my client, but I deeply regret and am so sad about Trump's behavior as president that I have to tell it all now.
Among his issues, according to the advance, is the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and the president's involvement in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
His lawyer, Lanny Davis, told the Times that he would "do it with documents."
But Cohen does not plan to answer questions about other aspects of Russia's investigation to avoid disturbing the Mueller probe.
What the post described as the hope of Coh's allies – that "he could become this generation's John Dean" – is much to see. Dean, unlike Cohen, worked in the White House and was an integral part of Richard Nixon's Watergate coverup.
The third story unfolding on our screens yesterday was Nancy Pelosis's plan for Parliament to vote to block Trump's statement on a national emergency at the border. So, even though he does worldwide, he could be smashed at home to appear to be in decline.
When Parliament voted to block Trump 245-182, where 13 Republicans joined the Dems, the party's tally was a foregone conclusion. There is a chance that the Senate will go along with four Republican defects (Thom Tillis said in a post op-ed yesterday that he would oppose the national emergency because "conservatives screamed ruthlessly when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress"). Nevertheless, there would undoubtedly not be enough votes to turn a veto.
Of course, the summit with Kim had not really begun, as these other stories caught in ink and smell. But I cannot help believing that most media are more interested in Trump's former fixer and a potential democratic decline than in the Presidential diplomacy.