That new reality caught Trump and his advisers off guard, according to people close to the president. If anything, they thought the specter of impeachment had been lifted after the Mueller investigation ended without a clear determination that Trump had committed a crime.

The contours of that investigation played to Trump’s strengths. Mueller spent two years in silence, allowing the president to fill the vacuum with assertions that the investigation was a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” The details of the investigation that did leak out were often complicated and focused on people in Trump’s sphere. Even Mueller’s pointed statement that he had not exonerated Trump did not seem to stick. There was ultimately plenty of smoke, but no smoking gun.

Numerous other Democratic inquiries

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