Donald Trump started threatening nuclear war with Iran on Monday, the same day his former campaign chairman was slated to go on trial for charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.
On MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell opened his show by explaining how the president appeared to be using the threats as a way of trying to alter a news cycle stuck on his collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election and the trial of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial.
Analyst John Heilemann agreed that war with Iran seemed unlikely—and said that we've seen this move used in Trump's playbook before.
"I often scare people on television when I talk about Donald Trump being dark and paranoid and ominous," he said. "I always think when he's tweeting about something, I shouldn't worry about it very much, because mostly when he's tweeting about something it's gibberish most of the time. It is just deflection, and projection and incoherent rambling. The stuff he doesn't tweet about is the stuff he cares about. He doesn't tweet about Playboy models, doesn't tweet about Stormy Daniels, he doesn't tweet about Michael Avenatti... But the stuff that scares him, the stuff that worries? He doesn't tweet about Paul Manafort very much, right?"