Sheila Markin is a former Assistant US Attorney.  She helps people to understand in plain English what is going on in US politics today.  Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

Trump is unraveling. He just fired off another tweet about the “fake” Mueller investigation. We are entering dangerous waters because investigators are getting to the heart, the nexus, of the conspiracy between Trump and Russia.

On the front page of the New York Times today we learn that Cambridge Analytica exploited the Facebook data of millions of Americans. Cambridge Analytica, owned and operated by the right wing Mercers, weaponized data about Americans they obtained on Facebook using what seemed to be an apolitical personality test to gain information to target voters in 2016. This Op-Ed from 2016 is a good description of HOW they weaponized Facebook intelligence about people and then micro-targeted key dark messages to voters. They targeted black people, for example, by sending them ads right before the election about Clinton’s superpredator remarks that she had made long ago. The effect was to anger the black voter and suppress the black vote. This was just one of many such targeted ads based on the mined data they got from Facebook users. We knew this already, but now we can see more clearly that there was a Trump-Russia connection. Cambridge Analytica was tight with the Russians. The Trump campaign -Jared Kushner – worked closely with Cambridge Analytica in that weaponized micro-targeting effort.

I am happy to report that Facebook has taken steps to prevent this from happening again. In the last few days they have banned Cambridge Analytica from using their platform. Good job, Facebook. Facebook is also taking other positive steps to guard against fake news on their platform and to counter hate speech. This is good. But when it comes to the 2016 election, it is getting more and more clear that in the relationship between Russia/Wikileaks, and Trump-Kushner/Cambridge Analytica lies at least some of the nexus of this conspiracy against the United States being peeled back and penetrated by Mueller and his team.

No wonder Trump is firing all the adults in the room. Trump is a man without morals or ethics. He is a con man and ignores the law even while he uses the law to get what he wants. He is totally full of himself and never thinks anything is his fault. He always blames the other guy. Rachel Maddow is keeping track of the long list of people quitting of getting fired from this chaotic White House. The list keeps growing and it is going to get longer. Why? Because as the Mueller probe gets ever closer to the president, Trump gets more and more “buggy” (agitated), and he has to act! has to do something! to relieve the pressure. So he blames the messengers around him who told him “No, Mr. President, don’t do that!” He blames them and gets rid of them so he can have a freer hand to do what HE KNOWS is right even if it is clearly wrong. HE knows better than everyone else. And he needs to act to feel better, to feel he is in charge. No one but a “yes” man can survive in this White House. But if he has nothing but lackeys and toadies around him, he will be ever more insulated in his little bubble of delusion, cut off from reality. There will be no stopping Trump if the adults have all been banished.

Most of us know that this president is extremely dangerous, and we see the grassroots rising up in protest, voting against him in special elections to push back against him and his agenda, and working to win back congress with the hope that he will be impeached. We continue to see a spineless Republican congress that has abdicated its responsibility as a check and balance on the executive branch. Will they be there for our country when Trump, surrounded by his toadies, finally tries to kill off the Mueller investigation? Will they stop him? Can they say no to him?

We are already seeing Trump’s defense take shape in the event he is indicted by the Grand Jury or that there is a future impeachment trial. He is methodically throwing shade on all of Comey’s “provers” (the people who met with Comey after his visits with Trump at the White House who verified what Comey reported in his notes after each visit.) Trump is vigorously alleging that the whole Russia thing was dreamed up by the FBI, by Comey, by the deep state, by his enemies and that they are not to be believed because they are liars, they have a grudge against him, they worked for Obama. He will cast doubt on our judiciary, the FBI and DOJ and anyone else who might stand up for the truth if it goes against him. We see the musings and acts of a paranoid mind, but also the efforts of a cornered man who knows what he did was wrong and is trying as hard as he can to cover it up.

I get where this president is coming from. I understand his fear, which must be palpable by now. The Mueller team must seem to him like a bunch of dogs on the hunt coming for him and his family. He knows he is guilty.

He acts like a guilty man. But this adds to the danger. Inside his paranoid world there lies a very dark heart. What will Trump do as the dogs close in?

I think we know what is coming. Trump is already rallying his Republican allies and commentators who, even today, are all over the talk shows claiming that the Mueller investigation should be over by now. Nothing to see here. No collusion here. This, despite the mounting evidence that Trump was deeply connected with the Russians through his business dealings and shady Mafia types who were directly linked to Putin; and the Russians were deeply engaged in helping Trump win the election and defeat Clinton. There is so much shit in this barn, there must be a pony in there somewhere.

I think Mueller already knows there’s a pony in the barn and where the pony is, but he needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this political climate. So we wait. But I hope we do not wait too much longer. Republicans on The Hill and on Fox News and the talk shows, are out there like today’s version of snake oil salesmen trying to get converts, trying to win the marketing war against this investigation, trying to convince the public that there is no reason to continue the investigation, I hope Mueller comes up with additional indictments fairly soon that show a clear and convincing connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians engaged in the conspiracy against the United States in the kind of granular detail we have seen in other indictments and guilty pleas. Strong evidence would go a long way to countering Trump’s army of snake oil salesmen. Ideally, before the 2018 election.

And one more thing. I could not agree more with Michelle Goldberg (See Burn It Down, Rex in the NYT today.) Anyone with intimate knowledge of the workings of this dangerous unraveling president who knows what is going on in this chaotic White House needs to speak out. NOW!! You guys have a duty to warn the American people. Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, Hope Hicks and others- you have a lot of power to affect public opinion. Don’t be shy! Get out there and speak up before it is too late!! When the story of this episode in our country is told, you want to be on the right side of history.

Opinion | Cambridge Analytica and the Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz

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