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Political Editors / October 13, 2016

The Real Strategy Behind the Trump Accusations

The collusion between Clinton’s campaign and her media is the key.

Hillary Clinton and her media super PAC will stop at nothing to win the election. And make no mistake: They are colluding. Not that we needed further proof, but some of the Clinton campaign emails leaked this week reveal several instances of collusion. CNBC’s John Harwood talked with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta about stories he was working on. In March, ABC and CNN contributor Donna Brazile, who also happened to be vice chair of the DNC (and is now interim chair), passed town hall questions to Clinton in advance. A New York Times reporter emailed Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri a story with a note saying, “You could veto what you didn’t want.”

So it’s no wonder that the Leftmedia is helping Hillary Clinton by ramping up an October offensive against Donald Trump. It actually began in September when Clinton dropped a reference to Miss Universe in the first debate. Trump took the bait even more vigorously than Clinton could have hoped for, spending days digging himself deeper into controversy. Soon after that setup, Clinton’s media dropped the bombshell of Trump’s boorish comments about women — just in time for the second debate. Once that was the big story of the weekend, moderators were fully justified in spending the first third of the debate badgering Trump about it. CNN’s Anderson Cooper pointedly asked Trump several times whether he had “ever done those things” he’d boasted about. Trump tried to avoid answering, but eventually said, “No, I have not.”

Lo and behold, three days later, several women came forward to tell their stories of being groped by Trump. No doubt others will join them as the media perpetuates the story for the next three weeks. First, if the allegations are true, then it undermines the contrast between Trump’s words and Bill Clinton’s actions. Trump will have also acted, and there is no defense for it.

Yet strategically the story is one of media collusion. The women who accused Clinton did so over the course of many years right from the beginning. They didn’t show up in October 1992, as Trump’s accusers have for the first time this October. In November 1998 (after the election), Clinton settled with Paula Jones over sexual harassment allegations, though he admitted nothing. And Clinton confessed to an affair with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office, as well as to a 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers.

Trump may very well have done what he’s accused of doing — it’s certainly in line with his utter lack of character. But at this point, all that matters for the election is public perception, which Clinton and her media allies are shaping masterfully. The only thing that might help Trump out of this is the number of people who see the timing and collusion for what it is.

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