Washington( CNN) The weekend's hysterium over President Donald Trump's so-far unsubstantiated claim that his predecessor tried to wiretap him is the latest example of a world view in which elections are rigged, the news he doesn't like is fake, there is mass voter fraud and the intelligence community is out to topple the White House with leaks.

It's the latest example in a pattern perfected by a chairperson whose actions have had the effect of diversion. Faced with an explosive political situation at his feet, he lobs a rhetorical grenade elsewhere, using the resulting detonation and confusion to his advantage. It moves the conversation from one that has him on defense to one where he is on offense.

When Trump made the unsubstantiated assert on Twitter that his predecessor had wiretapped him in the waning days of the 2016 election, it diverted attention from the growing body of undisputed reports that his surrogates and staffers had met with the Russian ambassador before and after the election. His campaign chairman was forced out over the summer after questions about his ties to Ukraine and Russia, his national security consultant was fired last month and last week came the news that his staffers and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russians before the election.