The Washington Post reports tonight: “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III informed President Trump’s attorneys last month that he is continuing to investigate the president but does not consider him a criminal target at this point, according to three people familiar with the discussions.” You’re going to hear a lot about this story, and much of what you hear is going to focus on its secondary details. Among them, that Mueller is reportedly thinking of writing separate reports about the various charges and those reports could be very damaging.

Do not be misled.

Yes, the story goes on to say that he might become a target later. But Mueller has been at this now for nine months with an aggressive staff. He has issued indictments of various figures and might be going after others. So telling Trump that he’s not a target is a very big deal.

Yes, in theory, Trump could testify before Mueller and perjure himself because of his highly problematic relationship to the truth. Yes, in theory, the probe could go on for years, and he could be indicted after his presidency—though, at this point, any such speculation is transparently absurd. The simple fact is this: Trump is not a target: “Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges.”

If he’s not a “target,” then the reports Mueller will write about his investigation will not rise to the level of indictable offenses. Remember, the only real threat to Trump’s continuing tenure would come from Mueller writing a document that effectively refers the matter to Congress for impeachment. It would still be necessary for the House itself to draft a bill of impeachment and vote on it. At which point, the matter would then become the province of a Senate trial, requiring 67 senators to vote to remove him from office. It’s almost impossible to imagine that happening in the first place, let alone if Mueller isn’t finding anything after nine solid months of investigations.

This story could very well be game over for everyone who has hoped against hope that the Mueller probe was going serve as the deus ex machina of the #Resistance and surgically remove Trump from the presidency.

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