SOBERLY ONWARD

1. It’s late on Monday, October 30, 2017.

2. It’s the 282nd birthday of John Adams – among many other things, our second President.

Any disturbance you saw in the ground around Quincy, Mass., today might have reflected his thoughts about his 43rd successor.

3. It’s nearing the end of what some Trump haters believed would be the political equivalent of Christmas – the day when Robert Mueller announced the first indictments in his investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible ties with Russia.

Much has been made about the court proceedings – the indictment of former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his buddy, Rick Gates. And the guilty plea of Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

Trumpistas tried to downplay the activity. Manafort and Gates were hit on charges related to activities before Trump even started running for president. And Trump’s latest fib fabricator, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, pooh poohed Papadopoulos as an unpaid aide.

Of course, most Trump foes cheered. Their theme song today is “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.”

So here’s my quick thought as we go on in this saga.

No doubt I’m with the Trump haters. No doubt.

But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that what we saw today was – as the Trump people fervently wish – the worst of what’s coming down. I don’t believe that. But let’s just say it.

How would you, if you’re on this side of the divide, feel?

Most of us would say “That’s it?” and scream. You’d go “What about Flynn and Kushner and Donald Jr.? What about Trump?”

Here’s why I’m at peace with where we are tonight.

The way this case is being pursued by Mueller gives me more and more confidence that whatever is uncovered is the truth.

It’s deliberate. It’s methodical. It’s thorough.

Here’s why I think that.

We had no idea about Papadopoulous, who is far more dangerous to Trump than Manafort and the charges he got hit with.

He was arrested in July. For more than two months, there wasn’t a hint of this anywhere. No leaks. No speculation. Nothing.

And the case against Papadopoulos, who brings the concept of collusion with the Russians directly into the campaign, was so solid that the guy pleaded guilty earlier this month.

And still it didn’t leak. For more than three weeks. Until Mueller could make his case against Manafort and Gates to the grand jury.

That might be good legal practice. But is that something you normally associate with what transpires in Washington?

Mueller didn’t trumpet anything. He didn’t hold a flashy news conference. He stayed as under the radar as could be for someone investigating whether or not Trump and/or his people finagled the 2016 election with Putin and the Russians.

There is nothing in this for Robert Mueller. He’s 73 years old. He has no political constituency. He could make a ton of money as a consultant. He could just sit at home and binge watch TV.

No. Instead, he has soberly taken on this terrible responsibility and done in a way that makes him an American hero.

Mueller will face the brickbats of Trumpistas. It’s thankless and it’s difficult.

They’ll, of course, sound different if his investigation doesn’t go much further. Which would exonerate Trump in the national eye.

If that happens, I’m prepared to accept it. The way he’s conducted this investigation so far speaks to an integrity that’s hard to find anymore.

At least someone has it in 2017.

But you know and I know and, best of all, Trump knows that Robert Mueller is far from done.

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