The big indictments were just around the corner in 1995, in 1996, in 1997. They didn’t come. Then, in 1998, the Lewinsky scandal seemed to fall into the laps of anti-Clinton types. But even as the scandal rolled toward impeachment, some on the right still looked for indictments in the matters that had raised Republican hopes over the years: Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, the Rose Law Firm billing records, the death of Vincent Foster, and more.

But 1998 passed, and then 1999, and then 2000 without the anticipated indictments. Bill and Hillary Clinton left office bruised by impeachment but without the criminal charges their adversaries once believed were coming.

Now, it is not unusual to encounter anti-Trumpers who believe big indictments from Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller are just around the corner. Recently, I had a long conversation with a smart and deeply engaged follower of Trump-Russia events who was convinced that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman currently on trial for tax evasion and bank fraud, and awaiting trial for failing to register as a foreign agent, would be indicted yet again — and this would be the big one, on charges that would finally include conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election.