Marshall Cohen, a reporter and producer for CNN, tweeted an item on Monday that smells of an inspirational moment for President Donald Trump. It should raise alarms in all of us, that the current occupant of the White House will get grand ideas from his puppet master, Vladimir Putin. Cohen tweeted: “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two new laws that impose strict prohibitions on Internet activities and speech. They allow Russian authorities to jail or fine people who spread ‘fake news’ or if they ‘disrespect’ government officials online.”
Anyone who reads Palmer Report knows that Trump has repeatedly attacked the press as “fake news” and disrespectful and, in a tweet binge perhaps influenced by other kinds of binging, Trump tweeted an astounding twenty-eight times on Sunday. This included stating that Saturday Night Live should be investigated by both the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Trade Commission for collusion with Russia and Democrats and for disrespecting Trump.
Representative Eric Swalwell rang the cautionary bell, warning that he expects Trump to emulate his dictatorial hero and try this at home, tweeting: “I will do everything physically possible — march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind — to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe Donald Trump will try. And I know you’re with me. Not on our watch.”
On a day that many have openly and with concern raised issues about the mental wellbeing of the “president,” this news from Russia is troubling. That’s not because it raises concerns about Russian citizens (it does not appear to be much different than other actions Putin has taken without needing laws), but because it raises concerns about Trump seeing this and either being informed that this is his next item to implement in the United States or thinking that this is a brilliant way for Trump to silence the critics in all forms of media and in the general population.
One of the twenty-eight tweets on Sunday was an attack against Fox News, so it appears nobody might be off limits. If we get a whiff of this, as Swalwell notes, we must march, advocate and ensure that our rights to speak and criticize remain intact.