Top stories of 2021: Trump, human trafficking, the Constitution

David Heitz

Nijwam Swargiary/Unsplash

When it comes to news predictions for 2021, I have three.

1. Donald Trump still will make headlines, even though the news media dislikes him. The President will remain in the news. I would not be surprised if he does not leave the White House easily. Talk of martial law has occurred in the White House.

2. Human Trafficking will be a huge story. I predict we will learn the feds have been investigating this menace for a long time and in ways we did not expect.

3. The U.S. Constitution will be on trial. The news media already has begun to write stories asking whether we need the Constitution. It's a question scholars of all political persuasions are asking.

Why I expect more high-profile trafficking arrests

Back in the days of slavery, the wealthy and the powerful were the ones who owned people.

Today, trafficking is modern-day slavery. I believe some very large trafficking operations will be brought to justice in 2021.

If the Feds follow the money, which is what they’re doing, they may find trafficking begins with the well-connected, not common street criminals.

An Arizona politician already has been arrested for human smuggling. The Associated Press reported that the assessor of Arizona's most populous country ran a traficking scheme where pregnant women were offered money to lure them to the U.S.

Once here, assessor Paul Petersen allegedly ran an operation where the women were crammed into houses to give birth. Petersen was charged in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas with human smuggling. He also faces charges of fraud, forgery, sale of a child, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Police recovered eight pregnant women from the Marshall Islands in the raids at properties outside Phoenix. Several more women were expected to give birth in Utah.

Investigators probed the case for about three years. It involes about 75 adoptions. As someone who has monitored human trafficking headlines for several years, I have no doubt other multi-year investigations are wrapping up.

Mike Austin/Unsplash

Of course, the most obvious example of a wealthy person charged with human trafficking is Hollywood entertainment mogul Jeffrey Epstein. Imagine who he could have ratted out.

But we never will know. He died in federal custody.

News media asks if we still need Constitution

The Constitution already is under attack by the news media. In a series of stories, The Atlantic posed the question of whether we still need the Constitution.

In a piece published in December, the magazine asked, “What if we wrote the Constitution today?” They solicited responses from libertarian, conservative and progressive scholars.

All three suggested reforming the Constitution.

Anthony Garand/Unsplash

They also all suggested limiting the powers of the President and putting 18-year term limits on Supreme Court justices.

Progressives and conservatives argued the president should be elected by a national popular vote. The libertarians voted to keep the Electoral College.

The Constitution we learned about in high school was considered sacred. We all had to learn the preamble of the Constitution to graduate. Nobody ever talked about changing the Constitution.

It’s interesting there is an emphasis on limiting the Supreme Court terms at a time the court has tilted conservative.

The story also talks about abolishing the electoral college, which would have cost Trump the election.


Twitter and Facebook already censor the news you read, disallowing certain posts. Some view it as a barefaced attack on Freedom of Speech.

Expect a year where there’s plenty of debate about our Constitution – and why it’s so precious.

Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere anytime soon

Will Donald Trump run for President again? I am sure he will unless he becomes sick or dies. I am still not convinced he will be leaving the White House when expected.

There has been talk of martial law.

Newsweek broke a story just this week about the President discussing implementing martial law or using other special powers bestowed him. As a result, according to Newsweek, the military is on high alert.

Jessica Radanavong/Unsplash

Some have speculated President Trump may try to invoke powers known as Directive 20.

Directive 20 confers on the Secretary of Defense powers to maintain public order, ensure public safety, and enforce federal, state, and local laws. It also directs the Secretary to form an interim government, according to the Newsweek story.

The story quotes a former Department of Justice official. He said Directive 20 assumes that "United States has been subjected to armed attack and is suffering millions of deaths, that Washington has been destroyed, and that state and local governments are paralyzed, with essential services disrupted."

The former official adds, "Of course Directive 20 can't be implemented, both because the conditions aren't present and the military wouldn't go along."

The President has special powers related to matters of national security, including natural disasters, the official explained. "The entire apparatus is both meticulous and highly ambiguous."

He declined to speak further citing classified information.

I’m not sure what President Trump is up to, but rest assured he’s up to something. As someone who has been accused of having ink for blood, I sense another shoe ready to drop.

Regardless of what President Trump does in the days and weeks ahead, I predict it will be newsworthy.


Comments / 8

Published by

I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO

More from David Heitz

Comments / 0