For President Trump, it may have been the best day of his tenure so far. The darkest, most ominous cloud hanging over his presidency was all but lifted on Sunday with the release of the special counsel’s conclusions, which undercut the threat of impeachment and provided him with a powerful boost for the final 22 months of his term.There are still other clouds overhead and no one outside the Justice Department has actually read the report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, which may yet disclose damning information if made public. But the end of the investigation without findings of collusion with Russia fortified the president for the battles to come, including his campaign for re-election.
While critics will still argue about whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice, the president quickly claimed vindication and Republican allies pounced on their Democratic colleagues for what they called an unrelenting partisan campaign against him. Even as his own party’s congressional leaders called on the country to move on, however, the president indicated that he may not be ready to, denouncing the very existence of Mr. Mueller’s investigation as “an illegal takedown that failed” and calling for a counterinvestigation into how it got started.
Emboldened and angry, the president can now proceed with his administration without the distraction of new search warrants and indictments by Mr. Mueller’s team or the worry that the special counsel might charge Mr. Trump’s family members or even uncover a smoking gun that would prove that his campaign collaborated with the Russian government to elect him in 2016. The questions about the Kremlin’s election interference that dogged the president almost everywhere he went may soon fade, even as other investigators continue to look into other allegations.
Mr. Mueller’s team confirmed that Russia did try to tilt the election to Mr. Trump, but its conclusion that he did not conspire with the effort may ease the way for Mr. Trump to reorient American foreign policy toward Moscow and its strongman president, Vladimir V. Putin, without as much concern about domestic consequences. And it may give renewed confidence to Mr. Trump, who has complained that his dealings with world leaders have been hobbled by their uncertainty about whether he would survive the investigation.