How Mueller verdict will change Trump’s presidency
POLITICAL discourse in much of the American media since Donald Trump entered the White House has been one long discussion about what "thing" will finally bring down the president.
Number one on that list has been the much anticipated report by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Today, that item was scratched off the list.
And what that means for the Trump presidency should not be underestimated.
Because while Trump likes to make out that never-ending criticism from the "fake news" media does not concern him, there is no doubt that the spectre of the ongoing Mueller investigation has been the heaviest of the various millstones around the neck of his administration.
Under threat, according to the popular narrative, was not just Trump but members of his family, including son Donald Jnr and son-in-law Jared Kushner, for their part in the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives trying to sell "dirt" on Trump's political opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The end of the Mueller saga allows Trump to breathe.
It is also his opportunity to reset his presidency, giving him renewed authority to pursue his political agenda and achieve tangible outcomes in the second half of his first term in office.
An emboldened Trump is a nightmare to ponder for the many Democrats seeking to defeat him in next year's election.
Never short on confidence, Trump - the third tallest US President ever - will now grow another foot taller.
Expect him to use this result to discredit and dismiss his critics on a regular basis. The very investigation that his opponents hoped to leverage to bring about his demise may well prove to be the fillip that he needs to propel Trump to a second term.
And while there remain some questions over whether Trump or his team acted to obstruct justice, given the Mueller report did not exonerate him on these questions, the summary from Attorney-General William Barr made clear there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.
After 675 days of scrutiny by teams of investigators with unlimited resources failed to find the silver bullet, Americans more than ever want their leaders to get on with governing.
Unfortunately, with Democrats already latching hard onto the lingering question of obstruction, this is unlikely to happen soon.