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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

If media mogul Rupert Murdoch thought that closing The News of the World, Britain’s largest-circulation newspaper, would keep the cops and the press and British politicians from investigating the phone-hacking conspiracy and cover-up that seems to get worse with each day…well, he was wrong.

The abrupt closing at the World — which sold more than 2 million copies every Sunday, and delivered its last issue earlier today — was widely seen as a move to protect former editor Rebekah Brooks and News Corp heir James Murdoch, and possibly brush the scandal away. (Of course, firing hundreds of aggressive tabloid journalists — and making them angry — to deal with a press scandal is a little like disbanding the entire Iraqi army to bring stability to a country.) It probably won’t work: this past week’s arrest of ex-editor and top government official Andy Coulson has emboldened Labor Party politicians who had previously been unwilling to attack the once absurdly influential Murdoch.

Not only is Murdoch’s big, multi-billion purchase of the BSkyB satellite television company at risk — his son, James, a U.S. citizen, could be slapped with American criminal charges. The Guardian points out that recently reported payments to British police officials could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:

The 1977 Act generally prohibits American companies and citizens from corruptly paying – or offering to pay – foreign officials to obtain or retain business.

The Butler University law professor Mike Koehler, an FCPA expert, said: “I would be very surprised if the US authorities don’t become involved in this [NI] conduct.”

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)