In 1936, when the Associated Press first started polling U.S. editors and news directors, the top story was the abdication of Britain’s King Edward VIII, the British monarch bewitched, allegedly, by a fetching and sassy American divorcée. As the “supreme governor” of the Church of England, Edward was expected to abide by its rule prohibiting divorced people from remarrying in church if their ex-spouses were still alive. Both of Wallis Simpson’s ex-husbands were still hanging around, so the king did what Brits do so well – he bowed out – so it’s no wonder a scandalous fairy tale about him giving up the throne for passionate true love made it to the top of the charts of American news stories. It had all the critical and glamorous ingredients of power, romance and the oh-so-fragile psyche of players in the public eye.

A related story that didn’t make the charts is that the British press remained silent on the story of Edward’s “friendship” for months, under self-imposed standards of privacy and decency.

Times have changed. This year’s pick for top story is the turbulent 2016 U.S. election and stunning surprise victory of Donald Trump, who responds to self-imposed curtain calls 24/7 and creates news by Tweet. The No. 2 story is Brexit, followed by black men killed by police, the Pulse nightclub massacre, worldwide terror attacks, attacks on police, the Democratic Party email leaks, Syria, the Supreme Court and Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

All in all, 2016 news was pretty grim – unless you like or profit from violence, political upheaval and racial divisions – and punditry was proven to be pretty much useless. But self-imposed standards today are that pundits must never be silent, so I offer up this prediction for what will surely be one of top stories in 2017.

Congress will appoint a select joint committee to investigate whether the Russian government attempted to improperly influence U.S. elections using cyber terrorism tactics. The committee will discover that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers. Over pistachio ice cream (a favorite of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin) a deal was cut that the Justice Department believes violated multiple laws, and Trump will be arrested and charged.

Americans will worry the president negotiated a bad deal and will become fearful of Putin’s apparent growing strength, but the committee will uncover at least one photo in the course of its $4.6 million investigation that will go viral, showing shirtless Donald Trump riding what appears to be a wild stallion but is revealed to be a Chincoteague pony. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Democrats and Republicans agree the American president’s muscle tone, skin and hair is far superior to that of the Russian leader on their desk calendar of world dictators.

Trump’s criminal trial will take place in New York City, of course, and will last for months and be televised around the world. Hundreds of new businesses and apps will spring from the daily spectacle, and witnesses with straight, white teeth and moist skin lucky enough to be called to testify will appear in gowns and tuxedos designed and made in the U.S. especially for the occasion. Testimony will be recorded, broadcast and polled daily. Hashtags #TrumpTrial, #WitnessWinner and #WitnessLoser will trend and make or break Twitter wannabees, and exceptionally popular witnesses will get jobs at CNN. Revenue for media outlets will soar on nonstop coverage and speculation about all aspects of the trial and what Ivanka will wear each day as she enters the courtroom in dramatic fashion. The judge will do an honorable job patiently managing the throngs of cameras and hordes of people hoping to get a glimpse of Trump, and faith in public institutions will rise from 32 percent – what it is today – to 43.7 percent.

Vladimir Putin will have a confidence crisis and become obsessed with his inferior pectoral muscles and resent the lavish attention bestowed on the American president, who will be convicted and immediately pardoned by himself after giving a speech before a roaring crowded stadium.

“Even as a criminal defendant, I was winning for the American people and it is with great pride and joy that I hereby announce all of the millions and millions of dollars me and my family made from the broadcast of my amazing trial – and it was millions, believe me – will be turned over to the great country that elected and convicted me, plus 25 percent of whatever we make on the sequels. The world runs on television, ladies and gentlemen, and nobody beats Donald Trump or the American people on TV! It’s all yours, folks! And God bless the United States of America,” he will thunder as 100-dollar bills are shot from cannons and dispersed into the cheering crowd. Hip American music will play. Cameras will zoom in to show the dazzling first family air-kiss a beaming Trump and wave to the masses watching from home. Grown white men will be filmed quietly weeping with joy and patting each other on the back.

Trump will then be re-elected with such huge margins, he will become immune from the demands of the Republican Congress and right-wing base, and he will announce via Tweet his appointment of Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court, where she will work happily ever after in a secure ivory tower with loyal clerks using only parchment paper and low-lead black ink.

Trust me. 2017 is going to be a great year.

Merry Christmas.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @dillesquire