The pace of developments, the seriousness of them and their potential consequences, shake the republic to its core. It can feel like Alice in Wonderland meets the Sopranos meets the Marx Brothers, a narrative that is at the same time worrisome and dizzying.

“Did you hear?” A friend, family member, or colleague asks. Maybe. It could be something I saw or will see or something that will get overshadowed soon by something bigger.

In the history books of the future, this shameful chapter will be distilled into a narrative that will be more defined by where we end up than the swinging pendulum of a news cycle that vibrates by the nanosecond. And in that reality is a lesson for journalists and political leaders looking to hold an unmoored president accountable. There is a very powerful through-line in all of this, a president and an administration that seeks political dominance at all costs, regardless of the needs of the security, safety, or well being of the American people or the larger world. Norms are shattered, laws broken, corruption encouraged, and democracy defied.

In his surreal presser Friday, President Trump said, “This whole thing is about corruption.” And in that, he is right, even if the corruption he is speaking of is the product of unhinged conspiracy theories and not the corruption of his own self, his family, or his administration. This is all about corruption, and that corruption cannot be allowed to stand.

Yes, there is a lot of smoke, but that is because there is a political firestorm at a level I haven’t seen in some time, if ever. Take a breath, catch up on the news in intervals. And never lose sight of the big picture. I have faith that enough of the American people will see through the dissembling and distractions for what they are: the frantic efforts of powerful people now facing scrutiny they never expected. And in that accountability lies the future of our nation.