In a flurry of “breaking news” reports, the media this morning covered the indictments of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and of Manafort’s longtime associate Rick Gates and the guilty plea – lying to the F.B.I. — by Trump’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

While volumes have been written – including by our Shaun Mullen – on what has led to this morning’s developments, The New York Times perhaps provides the most succinct description:

“American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Mr. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.”

While many Trump supporters minimize – even pooh-pooh — the impact of today’s plea and indictments and hope that this is the “beginning of the end” of an alleged “witch hunt,” many respected legal and political minds maintain this is merely the “end of the beginning.”

This writer is of the latter opinion and hopes that justice will finally be done and that our nation can return once more to its core values, Constitution and democracy, among them freedom of the press, freedom of expression—freedom to peacefully protest.

It is the latter that prompted me to write this short piece during a very busy and momentous news day: freedom to peacefully protest.

Again, volumes have been written about Trump’s obscene attempts – including the use of obscene language — to condemn the NFL protests about social issues. However, I just happened to watch a video by WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen (from more than a month ago) that, in my opinion, not only condemns Trump’s shameful attacks on the black athletes, but perhaps, more important, provides a glimpse into the heart and soul of a man whose actions and flawed character have led our nation, “a country [he] supposedly values and cherishes so much,” into the abominable state we find ourselves in today.

Please watch it below.

Just two days before today’s indictments, Colbert I. King wrote at the Washington Post in “Judgment Day for Trump may come sooner than you think”:

“Trump bullies, brutalizes and slimes with impunity because members of his base cheer his every move or concoct reasons to keep their mouths shut whenever he crosses a red line. And his enablers are not just holed up in America’s heartland and red states; they are here in Washington lining the halls of Congress under the banner of the Republican Party.”

Perhaps my hopes that America can continue to be great are premature – perhaps not. America must decide – soon.

Lead image credit donkeyhotey.com

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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