Bob Stannard: Time to act like Americans again

Well, well. So apparently Russia's hacking of our elections is not a "hoax" or "fake news" or a "witch hunt" as our president has wanted us to believe. Many have known for some time it's for real. It became more real when Robert Mueller handed down 13 new indictments showing what happened and for whose benefit (Trump's), but not linking the effort to Trump. Not yet anyway. That'll be coming soon.

What was Donald Trump's response to this incredible news that Russia interfered with our elections? "No collusion." Did he indicate how he would be keeping us safe going forward? No. Did he offer any plan as to how to keep this from happening again this November? No. Did he say that he would finally impose more sanctions as Congress voted nearly unanimously? No. Instead he spun the news in a desperate attempt to make him look innocent in spite of the fact that he's been acting guilty for a year now.

Paul Manafort's partner, Rick Gates, is about to join George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and now Richard Pinedo who are cooperating with Mueller. Still think this is a "witch hunt" as Trump would have you believe?

Trump is dirty. He's connected to Russian oligarchs and may very well have been laundering money for them. Four people have or are about flip and work with Mueller. Some have said the recent indictment of 13 Russians and 3 Russian corporations doesn't amount to anything, because Russia will never extradite these people. Wrong.

The new indictments are extremely important. First it confirms the truth that this is not a "hoax." Next it adds heightened importance to leaving Rob Rosenstein right where he is and makes it virtually impossible for Trump to fire Mueller (a goal of Trump's since last year) or face further obstruction charges.

Finally, it puts more pressure on Trump to finally impose the additional sanctions overwhelmingly approved by Congress. Trump has refused to act on Congress's vote. Why? The facts are clear and he now has to impose sanctions and keep us safe; something he said he would do but has failed to do.

The fact is that Mueller is closing in on Trump and those around him. This is about to get very serious and it's going to put our democracy to the test. Never before have we had a president who has been compromised by a foreign adversary.

We're going to be in for a tough ride. Those of you who follow me know that I'm no fan of Donald Trump. I've always thought he was a phony born to wealth and has screwed up everything he's ever done. It is no surprise that it appears as though he's poised to screw up our nation.

When this is all over the United States of America is going to have some major healing to go through. Divisions exist and were intentionally exploited and exacerbated by Russia. Russia did so in an effort to disparage Hillary Clinton and to get Trump elected.

It won't be easy and we'll have to find a way to pull together; to really reach out to those who've not just felt left behind, but who have really been left behind. Like a war-torn nation we're going to have to rebuild America from the bottom up. We're going to have to go back to who we were in the beginning; a nation of tolerance and personal freedom; a nation of love and a nation who looks out for those less fortunate; not the most fortunate, which has been the case since Ronald Reagan was president.

It'll be hard. We have a president whose victory will be forever tainted; a blemish on our democracy. But we're Americans and leaders of the free world. We're the ones who are supposed to set the example for how it's done. The time will soon be upon us that we must act like Americans again.

Bob Stannard lives in Manchester.


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