FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. Trump was just a few weeks into his candidacy in 2015 when came to Phoenix for a speech that ended up being a bigger moment in his campaign than most people realized at the time. And now Trump is coming back to Arizona at another crucial moment in his presidency. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Mary Altaffer/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. Trump was just a few weeks into his candidacy in 2015 when came to Phoenix for a speech that ended up being a bigger moment in his campaign than most people realized at the time. And now Trump is coming back to Arizona at another crucial moment in his presidency. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Now playing
00:59
President Trump pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio
President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/AP
President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Now playing
02:17
Trump claim to world leaders met with laughter
CNNMoney
Now playing
06:22
How Trump's tweet sparked #WhyIDidntReport
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking to law enforcement officials on the street gang MS-13, Friday, July 28, 2017, in Brentwood, N.Y.
Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking to law enforcement officials on the street gang MS-13, Friday, July 28, 2017, in Brentwood, N.Y.
Now playing
01:46
Trump's I'm-joking-but-not-really strategy
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15:  U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to members of the White House Press Corps prior to his Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to members of the White House Press Corps prior to his Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:20
Trump often says he's 'the least racist person'
CNN
Now playing
01:00
Trump on Manafort: I feel sad about that
Pool
Now playing
01:22
Trump on Cordray: He was groomed by 'Pocahontas'
Now playing
05:58
Baldwin: This face behind Trump startled me
CNN
Now playing
02:01
Trump responds to op-ed: 'Gutless'
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
03:18
Why Woodward's book matters
CNN
Now playing
01:13
Dean: Trump acts 'frighteningly dictatorial'
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08:  U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:31
Woodward book reveals 'crazytown' White House
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
03:03
Trump's latest Twitter tirade lashes at media
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump waits to speak during a memorial service at the Pentagon for the 9/11 terrorist attacks  September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump waits to speak during a memorial service at the Pentagon for the 9/11 terrorist attacks September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:57
Trump warns of violence if GOP loses midterms
Photo Illustration: Getty Images/CNN Business
Now playing
01:40
Trump: Impeach somebody who's done great job?
Fox News Channel
Now playing
01:19
Trump on Sessions: What kind of man is this?
Washington CNN —  

As the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the US in more than a decade took aim at Texas, President Donald Trump’s White House engaged in an age-old Washington tradition: the Friday news dump.

Transgender individuals? Banned from joining the military. Convicted Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Officially pardoned. Controversial White House adviser Sebastian Gorka? Out of a white House job.

All three headlines popped after 6 p.m. Friday as TV news broadcasts and websites turned their attention to Texas, where Hurricane Harvey was preparing to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane – the most powerful to hit the US since 2004.

The hurricane provided cover, ensuring that the controversial storylines wouldn’t dominate TV news broadcasts, websites or front pages of the next morning’s newspapers. The storylines even got overshadowed in Twitter feeds dominated by the cataclysmic predictions about damage the storm is expected to wreak.

The coordinated effort drew quick notice from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who slammed the news dump as “so sad, so weak.”

“As millions of people in TX and LA are prepping for the hurricane, the President is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court’s order to stop discriminating against Latinos and ban courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation’s Armed Forces,” Schumer wrote in a series of tweets. “The only reason to do these right now is to use the cover of Hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny.”

The President signed a memorandum issuing his directives on reinstating the ban on transgender troops during the day on Friday, but the White House waited until 6 p.m. to release the news.

Trump’s memorandum bars the military from moving forward on an Obama-era directive that would have soon allowed the military to accept transgender individuals, orders the military to stop funding transgender-related medical treatments and allows the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security to decide whether transgender individuals already serving could remain in the armed forces.

At 8 p.m., the White House announced in a news release that Trump had officially pardoned Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who had been found guilty of criminal contempt in July for disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case.

Trump signaled at a rally Tuesday night in Arizona that he had decided to pardon Arpaio but said he would delay the announcement to avoid stirring controversy.

“You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine,” Trump said on Tuesday. “OK? But I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the next day Trump would announce his decision on the pardon “at the appropriate time.”

Then came news that Gorka was leaving the White House. Gorka, a controversial figure who earned publicity for his combative interviews and expressed anti-Muslim views, was a close associate of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Gorka’s ouster or resignation was expected since Bannon was pushed out last Friday.

The story broke after 8 p.m. And disputes between the White House and Gorka over whether he resigned or was pushed out played out under the cover of 130 mph winds gusting toward the Texas coast.

The oversized Friday night news dump raised questions about whether the White House coordinated the release of the controversial news stories to coincide with the hurricane, or if the news dump was already planned – and not scrapped.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening about the matter.