Thursday’s leak proclaiming a Manhattan grand jury had charged former President Donald Trump in a 30-something-count criminal indictment preempted nearly a week of important stories. Here are some of the most important underreported stories from the last five days.
1. House Weaponization Hearing
On Thursday, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing for testimony related to Missouri v. Biden. In that case, Missouri, Louisiana, and others sued the Biden administration and numerous individual defendants for violating the First Amendment through what the plaintiffs called a “vast censorship enterprise.”
At last week’s hearing, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, and Louisiana Special Assistant Attorney General D. John Sauer testified in detail about that “censorship enterprise,” providing highlights of evidence uncovered so far in the lawsuit. While the “Twitter Files,” earlier testimony of Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, and previous filings in Missouri v. Biden revealed extensive information about the public-private Censorship Complex, this testimony provided the House committee with even more troubling information.
2. Chinese Spy Balloon
The Chinese spy balloon that floated unmolested across America in February “gather[ed] intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it from doing so,” NBC reported on Monday. The revelations, based on “two current senior U.S. officials and one former senior administration official,” appear to contradict the Biden administration’s earlier claim that the Chinese spy balloon had “‘limited additive value’ for intelligence collection by the Chinese government.”
3. Border Crisis Goes Global
A leaked Customs and Border Protection document reveals the Biden administration anticipates further increases in Chinese nationals illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico. As The Daily Caller reported, “Between October 2022 and February 2023, Border Patrol agents encountered more than 4,200 illegal migrants from China, compared to roughly 1,900 in all of fiscal year 2022, according to CBP data.”
4. OPEC Oil Cuts
The OPEC+ Saudi-led oil cartel’s decision on Sunday to cut oil production quickly bumped oil prices up about $5 per barrel. With inflation already high, the increase in energy prices is yet another blow to America’s beleaguered middle class. But the story should reverberate all the way to the Oval Office, given that President Biden’s anti-oil policies and foreign policy missteps gave OPEC+ power to push the price of oil higher.
5. Dumping the U.S. Dollar
The India Ministry of External Affairs announced on Saturday a move away from the U.S. dollar, with the country agreeing with Malaysia to create a “Special Rupee Vostro Account” to allow the settlement of international trade in Indian rupees. The move away from the U.S. dollar reportedly came to “safeguard Indian trade from the impact of [the] Ukraine crisis.”
Last week Wednesday also saw China and Brazil finalize an agreement to ditch the U.S. dollar to instead deal directly with their own currencies, “exchanging yuan for reais — or vice versa — rather than first converting their currencies to the U.S. dollar,” as Fox Business reported.
6. Russia’s Arrest of American Journalist
Russia’s arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich also deserves more attention, first because his detention — the first of an American journalist since the end of the Cold War — represents a new heightening of tensions between the United States and Russia.
Gershkovich’s detention by Russia shortly after our country arrested Russian national and accused spy Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov also serves as a reminder of the weak deal the Biden administration cut with Vladimir Putin when it released Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for American basketball player Brittney Griner.
7. Murder of Russian Blogger
The Sunday evening murder of Vladlen Tatarsky, a Russian military blogger, at a café in St. Petersburg is another story given short shrift because of the Trump indictment. While the Russians are blaming Ukraine for Tatarsky’s murder, a Ukrainian presidential adviser called the bombing an “internal political fight,” claiming Tatarsky was killed because he had criticized aspects of the Russian military operations in Ukraine.
These competing narratives aptly demonstrate the danger posed by the government’s move to brand news “disinformation or misinformation” when our leaders deem it necessary to further some perceived American interest.
If the government and Big Tech censors lie about Covid to prevent “vaccine hesitancy,” why wouldn’t they also lie about who is responsible for a murder to ensure continued support of Ukraine?
In the days, weeks, and months ahead, the “get Trump” circus will continue to dominate the news. Let’s just hope that by the time Democrats call it quits, we still have a country left.