It's been a wild month of news stories, especially for breaking news featuring the Mueller investigation of members of Trump's campaign team/cabinet officials and their connections with Russian officials.
It all started when WikiLeaks released Democratic National Committee emails indicating that they had been hacked. At first some political observers and pundits wrote the story off as typical hyperbolic political party posturing. But soon it became apparent to at least the US intelligence community that somebody in Russia had been responsible for the hacking incident.
Facebook admitted that they had facilitated some ads paid for by Russians. According to CNN, Facebook had identified 3,000 ads that ran between June 2015 and May 2017 that were linked to fake accounts. Those accounts were linked to the pro-Kremlin troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.
Meanwhile, the FCC is allowing for further consolidation of corporate media ownership, leading to even more media monopolies. The news media is already owned by only a handful of corporations.
As I've reported before, I testified before the Federal Communications Commission on this subject, but when I presented research that the FCC had commissioned which showed the negative effects of corporate media ownership consolidation, the commissioners claimed to have no knowledge of the reports that they themselves had commissioned! So much for protecting the public airwaves from greedy profiteers…
As far as the Republicans on the FCC are concerned, the public does not own the airwaves. They are simply available to the highest bidder, leading to an inadequate, censored and filtered corporate news media that tells only a small part of the story and which does not provide enough context or historical information about these news stories. As Walter Cronkite ably points out in his auto biography Life Of A Journalist, sound bytes and sensationalism have replaced real journalism for the most part in the United States.
Because of this corporate monopoly, Reporters Without Borders, an international advocacy group for journalism, has ranked the US 43rd in terms of press freedom in their 2017 World Press Index report. You can find that index of the world's press at https://rsf.org.
Of course Donald Trump, like all good authoritarians, claims that anything which is critical of his administration is "fake news". While this is happening, attempts are underway once again by the FCC to undermine the policy of net neutrality, leading to exclusive access to information in a so-called information age democracy.
This policy just doesn't make sense. Free access to information is vital for any open society! Once the "information superhighway" requires tolls for access, media democracy is over.
And aren't we already struggling to retain some semblance of democratic policies in this country? When did democracy, transparency and accountability become dirty words?
Also, I tweeted earlier today, about a Trump rally in Pensacola Florida where Trump endorsed Roy Moore and the crowd chanted for Hillary Clinton to be imprisoned.
Will the ironies ever cease?
As some New Yorkers like to repeat, "I'm not saying... I'm just sayin'."
If you've been keeping track of the Mueller investigation, you know that four of Trump’s staff are now facing felonies stemming from an investigation that which began as a request for documents from the speakers bureau for Trump's national security advisor US General Mike Flynn. Dozens of people and several government intelligence agencies have been subpoenaed or interviewed during the Trump Russiagate investigation.
In fact, three separate investigations have been launched: the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
An article in USA Today describes the confusion and competing interests surrounding the investigations. Often these groups have not cooperated, or they have been in direct competition with one another. Sorting all of this out has been a real headache for investigators, attorneys and especially for reporters like myself…
Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn pleaded guilty after admitting that he lied to the FBI about his conversation with a Russian official. Some political observers have seen this as a “good soldier” falling upon his sword to protect the reputation of the Commander In Chief.
Earlier in the year Trump fired FBI Director James Comey over his investigation into ties between Trump's campaign staff and Russian business interests and politicians. There is a big public impression of conflict of interests in that self-serving decision by Trump.
In my latest MTC Report at Youtube I present video clips of some of the significant news events of the last week. Stay tuned for further developments because this story "has legs" as they say in the news business. It's not going to go away and you can be guaranteed that it will develop into a bigger and bigger story as time goes on.
MTC SPECIAL REPORT: Will Trump Be Impeached Or Resign?
People need to realize that Robert Mueller's commission is to investigate the Trump/Russia connections and any interference in the US elections, including hacking into the Democratic National Committee's email accounts. US intelligence agencies have stated that the hacking came from Russians. Donald Trump laughed at that assertion until just recently. At this point it's difficult to tell exactly what his official position is since his compulsive posts on Twitter have been confusing and sometimes contradictory.
But Mueller is also obligated to follow up on any other cases of corruption or illegal activity he uncovers during the investigation, no matter where that leads.
Suffice it to sat that Donald Trump's presidential administration is facing a huuuuge crisis that may end up as a constitutional crisis much like Watergate during the Nixon administration. In fact, Trump is starting to sound and act more and more like the ghost of Tricky Dick who was forced to resign after his administration was charged with corruption and abuse of power.
In that case back in 1972, Nixon's henchmen, including G. Gordon Liddy, burglarized the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel, leading to calls for the President’s impeachment. Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign after being charged with tax evasion.
Even though Nixon tried to use his powers as US President to fire the special prosecutor and the attorney general, he finally had to face the music and leave the White House under a dark cloud of scandal. He has gone down as one of the most dastardly of US presidents, and like Donald Trump, Nixon made a lot of enemies. He actually kept a list of all the people he imagined were his enemies, including Beatles musician John Lennon!
My Music Video: “He’s Beginning To Sound A Lot Like Nixon”
It remains to be seen whether Trump will eventually resign in disfavor or fight to the bitter end against criminal charges or impeachment proceedings, but for organizations like Citizens For Ethics, or as I call them the Crew crew (@CREWcrew), the Trump administration is already going down in history as one of the most corrupt of all US presidential administrations. And that's with only a small part of the investigations being made public. Most of what is happening behind the scenes is kept secret until indictments are handed out.
Will trump be indicted? Will we face another constitutional crisis where the person in the White House tries to expand his powers to fight investigation and prosecution?
Well, if I had to guess I'd say that we are very likely to see just that. Trump has made no efforts to cooperate with investigators. Instead, he's been waging a highly unethical battle against them in social media and the press. Yes, the president, just like all residents of the US is protected under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. He has the right to speak out and state his opinions.
The trouble comes when his statements and actions as Commander In Chief are directed at influencing or threatening those involved with the investigation. When this happens it's called “obstruction of justice” and it is an impeachable offense.
This is exactly the charge that was being laid against Richard Nixon in 1972. This may be a different era, but the basic constitutional and democratic principles remain the same. The goal of any effective and successful investigation is to provide transparency, accountability and justice.
Let us hope that justice will prevail in this instance.