As President Trump continues his first extensive trip to foreign countries, the news he has been making non-stop back home is not for the moment taking up the entire front page. Still, the headlines have to be unsettling.

The center still holds if only barely, and it is starting to implode.

If impeachment proceedings become ever more possible—and they are now going beyond whisper stage in the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill—they will lead through two roads: Russia and California!

Ultimately, the fate of the presidency may depend upon what a few bad actors in these places have said to top Russian officials and where former San Francisco U.S. attorney, Robert Mueller, the newly appointed Special Counsel takes his investigation.

At the heart of his inquiry will be the secret pre-election conversations between President Trump’s former unceremoniously dumped national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, and his Russian counterparts after just two weeks on the job.

The appointment of Mueller, a no-nonsense but famously even- handed ex-federal prosecutor has the support of both California Republicans and Democrats including GOP House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield who has been one of Trump’s staunchest supporters.

The increasingly entangled relations between the administration—barely 100 days young—and Russia, an untrustworthy adversary suspected of meddling in the presidential election whose dictator, Vladimir Putin, gets Trump’s unsparing admiration has produced the first major casualty.

The abrupt and questionable dismissal of the long-serving and well regarded career law enforcement official, FBI Director James B. Comey, whose ouster led to Mueller’s hiring has thrown Washington into an unfathomable tizzy.

Comey’s efforts to look into the nefarious dealings with the Russians apparently incurred Trump’s growing displeasure with an independent investigation that showed signs of becoming a bit too independent.

Some legal experts are questioning whether Comey’s ouster alone might constitute obstruction of justice which translated into layman’s language suggests a cover-up.

This was a key element in the high drama that eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency decades ago who faced near certain impeachment if he had not resigned.

Whether the present circumstances justify such a lethal response is a matter of conjecture that millions of Americans, including numerous unpersuaded Californians who voted for Trump, are choosing to ignore or are deeply resentful that things have so quickly taken this turn.

From their standpoint, Trump is entitled to govern however he chooses and his behavioral peculiarities—a charitable description—are of little consequence.

That view is apparently not shared by highly-exercised California Democrats who lined up one after another at the state party’s just concluded convention in Sacramento to register their eagerness at getting the impeachment gears revving.  

Antonio Villaraigosa, the former L.A. Mayor, a member of the party’s more liberal wing, and one of many aspirants to replace Jerry Brown as governor in 2018 is calling upon Trump to quit or be impeached “if media reports on his activities are accurate.”

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, put forth a resolution calling for resignation and urging Congress to impeach if he does not voluntarily resign.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, a more moderate liberal, foresees impeachment as probable if a handful of Republicans joined Democrats and are willing to “put country above party,” or alternatively if the congressional majority changes hands in 2019.

Clearly the sense of mounting crisis pervading Washington is extending well beyond because of a president who, regardless of your philosophical bent, appears determined to test the outer bounds of his authority and the limits of the law.

It is equally clear that the president has surrounded himself with a tight-knit circle of advisors and family loyalists that are incapable, unwilling or do not wish to impose any restraints on his undeniably erratic behavior.

Whether or not there is a so-called “smoking gun” may eventually be learned as committees in both House and Senate take up the highly damaging allegations. California lawmakers who comprise the largest delegation in the House which has the solemn responsibility of bringing Articles of Impeachment will figure very importantly as the inquiries proceed.

The state’s two Democratic U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and newly-elected Sen. Kamala Harris, have yet to weigh in on their exact feelings and rightfully so since the U.S. Senate is the final arbiter in these matters.   Feinstein in particular,  as one of the longest serving senators (she was elected in 1992) commands great respect on both sides of the aisle and her opinions have great sway with her colleagues.

Likewise for another Californian, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) who has aspirations of regaining the Speakership if the GOP takes a bad drubbing in the 2018 elections and has been somewhat less restrained in her views.

For the moment Republicans may be breathing a slight sigh of relief as Trump’s future becomes more precarious if only to gain some time with the hiring of Mueller, a former FBI Director, who served without taint under the second Bush administration.

As Trump’s political troubles continue to swirl, citizens are beginning to wonder if and when there will be any respite.

It is unlikely that will come soon and whatever bomb shells yet to explode are unpredictable.

More may be learned when Comey testifies before the Congressional oversight committees which are eagerly awaiting his appearance.

But before there is any resolution one thing is certain: When all is said and done, the paths through California and Moscow will be well trod.