Robert Mueller’s testimony sent the clearest signal yet that impeachment may be slipping out of reach for Democrats and that the ultimate verdict on President Donald Trump will be rendered by voters in the 2020 election.

Democrats had hoped the former special counsel’s appearance Wednesday would be a turning point.

A Marine who served in Vietnam, Mueller is the kind of square-jawed federal prosecutor to whom Americans may have once listened as a trusted source of authority.

What Mueller did say was striking: Trump was not exonerated of potential crimes.

His report found Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic” fashion.

Accepting foreign campaign assistance is wrong, he agreed. But Mueller’s reluctance to engage deprived the country of a where-wereyou-when moment that could bring decisive conclusion to the probe and Trump’s role in trying to obstruct the investigation.

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