One stumble followed another and Trump still stood, but, ah, but what if the Russians had undermined our democracy and Trump actually arranged this thing? Impeachment, that's what, and the search and media mayhem were on, powerfully aided by U.S. intelligence agents feloniously leaking classified information. What were these criminals doing? Trying to make the Russian threat come in second to some in our own government?

Now, we have a special counsel, Robert Mueller, someone who thinks he's above the law and has the might and moolah to go just about any direction he wants in a Russian collusion investigation that has now produced indictments.

Two are of Paul Manafort and an aide. They are charged with getting laundered millions from foreigners overseas long before Manafort became a short-term Trump campaign manager. He was much involved in Russian interests in Ukraine, Manafort was, and worked with a Democratic lobbying firm that visited with congressional honchos of liberal intent – another collusion possibility?

The charges against Manafort could put him in prison for years even though they are legally slippery. A point may be to get him to talk about Trumpian doings, it's said, and that brings us to the third indictment.

It tags George Popadopoulos, a low-level campaign volunteer who tried to set up a Trump-Russia summit meeting reportedly frowned on by higher aids. That does not sound exactly criminal. Yes, Popadopoulos was once told the Russians had lots of email dirt on Clinton, but he seems to have received none of it. Zip, zero. What he admitted guilty to was a charge of lying to the FBI, and now, to get out from under, he is cooperating in possibly delivering dirt on the Trump team.

On that score, he might take lessons from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. It dished out $9 million to a British ex-spy who then apparently gave big money to Russians who fed the campaign fake news trashing Trump. This scintillating balderdash was contained in what is known as "the dossier," which maybe played a role in getting the federal government started on its Trumpian hunt.

The get-Trump-or-die crowd says references to the Clintons are a misleading distraction, which is itself politically crowned hokum. For a contrary dose of truth, start with the Uranium One scandal in which the Clinton Foundation obtained millions while Bill Clinton helped Russia become a foremost uranium power in the world, acquiring huge weaponizing and energy advantages over America.

Clinton supporters stress there was no sign of a quid pro quo from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the government-approved deal that turned over 20 percent of our own deficient uranium supplies. But there is no doubt of one thing: the moral corruption of a former president who is as good at colluding as it gets.

Collusion in itself is not a crime, of course, but, if you have to find a crime someplace, an independent special counsel with gotcha as a mission is the way to do it. Mueller, said to be a man of integrity, once as FBI director disregarded an important separation-of-powers law as well as orders from a presidentially instructed attorney general that he heed it.

A court finally flummoxed him, but where is it now when he has put together a Democratically partisan staff and has as a chief witness his old buddy, another former FBI director named James Comey? Those moves are not kosher, and while Mueller is not about to go away, we need to have all-out congressional investigations of Russia that make no partisan distinctions on the home front.

– Jay Ambrose is a columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojay@aol.com.