The special counsel investigation was often cast as a clash between President Trump and Robert S. Mueller III. But there was always a third player, for whom victory seemed assured no matter the outcome.
Russian President Vladimir Putin set this sequence of events in motion with a Kremlin campaign to destabilize American democracy. That operation and its aftermath inflamed partisan tensions in the United States, eroded public confidence in core institutions and triggered a two-year investigation that consumed the nation’s attention and much of the Trump presidency.
The investigation may be finished now that the bulk of the report has been released, but the political battle it has generated in the United States — and the advantage Putin sees for Russia in that infighting — appears far from over.
Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.