Shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Michael Avenatti tweeted out a bombshell — he claimed that following an investigation, his team determined that President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, “received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian [oligarch] with close ties to Mr. Putin.”
Avenatti added that “[t]hese monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment” Cohen made to Avenatti’s client, Stormy Daniels, a woman who claims to have had an affair with Trump and was paid just before the election for her silence about it.
After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 8, 2018
Avenatti’s bombshell claim was quickly corroborated by The Daily Beast, New York Times, CNN, and other outlets. Before the night was through, AT&T acknowledged it was implicated in the scandal as well — the company made $200,000 in payments to Essential Consultants, a shell company set up by Cohen that also received payments from a company linked to a Russian oligarch.
But if you spent Monday evening watching Trump’s favorite network, you might still be in the dark about all of that. According to SnapStream transcripts, the name “Michael Cohen” was not uttered a single time during Fox News’ top-rated shows hosted by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingraham.
Avenatti’s tweet was mentioned shortly before 7 p.m. on Bret Baier’s show, but it was quickly dismissed by Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp, who was on Baier’s panel.
“I don’t know if Mr. Avenatti is Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, or if he’s the lawyer for ‘hashtag resistance’ to try to do everything he can to weaken the president,” Schlapp said. “I think this is like several bank shots, I guess, to show that there is some kind of collusion with Russia, and I think the American people are fair, and if there is no proven collusion with Russia that impacted the election, I think they are tired of all the theatrics with this investigation.”
Baier then steered the conversation to other topics. Watch:
Cohen’s name wasn’t mentioned again on Fox News programming until Shannon Bream’s show, which airs between 11 p.m. and midnight. The trend continued into Wednesday morning. The Cohen story came up a single time during the show Trump regularly live-tweets, Fox & Friends, during one of the show’s brief news updates.
According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox News has spent a total of just over five minutes on the Cohen revelations since they broke last night.
Fox & Friends covered the Cohen developments for just 38 seconds this morning.
None of Fox's prime-time shows last night even mentioned Michael Cohen's name.
In total, Fox has spent just over 5 minutes discussing the Cohen news since it broke. https://t.co/sYPHQCrHXr
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) May 9, 2018
Fox News’ suppression of the Cohen story reflects how the network regularly protects the president.
One particularly notable example of this happened late last month, when Trump called in to Fox & Friends for an interview. While you’d think hosts of Trump’s favorite show would be overjoyed to interview the president, they abruptly brought the interview to a close after Trump started yelling about how he planned to meddle more aggressively in the Department of Justice moving forward.