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Few question the valor of those who serve in the military. Even those who disagree with American foreign policy recognize that soldiers don’t have the luxury of choosing their missions. As such, for having the guts to risk the ultimate sacrifice for their country, they are held in high esteem.

Similarly, no one can question another’s personal truth – including what it means to those who carry the weight of combat experience.

I spoke recently with a friend, a veteran who saw action overseas, who knows first-hand that freedom isn’t free. The cliché, rooted in truth as commonly understood, has unique significance for him.

This man, who we’ll call Mikey, recently completed serving a two year sentence in state prison for growing and distributing marijuana. But he didn’t walk out before he stood up in a courtroom and diagnosed the brutal reality of a paradox in plain view. His conclusion left the courtroom stunned.

“The government sent me halfway around the world,” Mikey said. “Carrying a gun for them, I was considered a hero. Then I grew marijuana. And the government kicked my door in and locked me up. If you had told me when I was nine years old, that one day I would have two jobs – one where I shot human beings that never killed anyone, and another one where I grew a plant that has never killed anyone – and the second one would make me a criminal, I would have told you that you were crazy.”

The judge nodded. Others in attendance cried. In the collective silence, there was agreement: It was crazy.

As Mikey put it, he was “ahead of his time” in North Carolina, where marijuana is illegal for any purpose. Yet one in five Americans now live in a state where marijuana is legal. A clear majority of Americans favor legalization for recreational use and even more favor legalization of marijuana for medical use. The only real question is when, not if, marijuana will be legalized from coast to coast.

Beyond the legal context, another aggravating factor was tougher to stomach. Mikey said he was conflicted about the rationale for his incarceration in contrast to many of those around him.

“Some of these guys had done bad things – hurt people, killed people,” Mikey recalled. “But for some of them, they had this sense of peace about being locked up. They accepted that they were being punished for something they knew was wrong.”

Lying down to go to sleep each night on a thin mattress in a metal bunk, Mikey could find no such comfort.

“I still stand strong with love in my heart,” he announced in his first social media post after being released. “I’m still not sorry. At all.”

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

The eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.

Now I wanna tell you a story. I’m gonna ask y’all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.

This is a story about the President of the United States. He welcomes foreign enemies of our nation into the Oval Office. Upon greeting them he divulges highly classified information. His reckless admission not only puts lives and already jittery international relationships with allies at risk but magnifies doubts about his administration’s essential competency. Anyone but the President to commit such a colossal blunder would be subject to criminal charges.

Can you see him? I want you to picture that President. Now imagine the President is Black.

The defense rests your honor.

Why did the raid of a Republican consulting firm with ties to former Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort take place on Friday afternoon? Because the night before the President went on television to volunteer a sterling case against himself for obstruction of justice in the Russia scandal.

Since then, many have noted a marked shift in mainstream media coverage: From language describing the investigation in terms of intelligence-gathering to framing it in terms of eventual criminal prosecution.

“The FBI has started pulling that string,” said former Republican Congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. “And they are still pulling that string where it leads is not just an election issue, it is a criminal issue – and Trump knows that.”

Contrary to the President’s hopes, Comey’s dismissal has actually propelled the investigation into its next phase – publicly, at least. It had already been confirmed that grand juries have been impaneled to consider evidence related to the investigation. And there are as-yet unconfirmed reports that those grand juries have generated dozens of indictments under seal with many more to come.

Sources outside the traditional media – most notably Louise Mensch, a conservative former British Member of Parliament now working as an independent journalist in New York – have been ahead of the curve on Trump-Russia. It was Mensch who broke the FISA warrant story just days before the November election. That information was eventually corroborated by mainstream media reports but not formally confirmed until Comey testified publicly in March.

The same day the FBI descended on the office of the GOP consulting firm, Mensch reported the existence of a New York state-level racketeering and corruption (RICO) case against the Republican Party. The raid was coordinated between the FBI and the Eastern Virginia District Court of Virginia, overseen by Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are conducting their own investigations into Trump campaign associates’ business dealings.

Like any criminal investigation, to topple powerful people – especially in the highest positions of government – even overwhelming evidence may be insufficient to get convictions. To take down the big game requires nailing lower-level actors and flipping them to work up the food chain. And when the threat of executive power looms, the order of operations and inter-agency coordination becomes even more essential.

Also vital is a critical mass of public pressure on the Republicans to place country before party. For that to happen, a scandal that is complex and hard to understand needs to be distilled into a plot busy people can readily follow. Reagan never went down in the Iran-Contra affair for many reasons, but a major one is that the public never quite knew who did what wrong.

Two years ago, in covering the “Bridgegate” scandal that embroiled Chris Christie and his associates, the New York Times’ Jim Dwyer quoted the Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Aregood in citing a basic law of politics that the New Jersey Governor violated:

“Never do anything crooked or evil that the average person can understand.”

By going on camera and bragging he canned Comey because the Russia investigation was based on a “made-up story,” Trump not only violated a basic law of politics, he confessed to violating the law of the land. He will learn in disgrace, as Richard Nixon did, that he is not above it.