For Democrats, the Mueller report turns upside down the politics of what lies ahead. From what seemed a position of strength, or at least the ability to stay on offense, they are now looking at the road ahead in a far more problematic position. The issue of impeachment was always in question, given House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cautionary view. At this point, it is off the table. Beyond that are difficult questions about what investigations House Democrats should pursue and to what end…

But is the absence of a conclusion or recommendation about obstruction a gift for the Democrats or a trap? By declining to exonerate the president, Mueller has whetted the appetites of those who believe, based simply on what is already in the public domain, that Trump repeatedly sought to interfere with the special counsel’s work. They are understandably eager to pursue this question, not only by demanding the full report, but by calling Barr and Mueller to testify.

They will do this, however, with the issue clouded by partisanship. Some Democrats are claiming that Barr was not willing to charge Trump because he doesn’t believe that a sitting president can be indicted. Barr wrote that his and Rosenstein’s decision “was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.” That won’t satisfy those who think the president obstructed justice. But it is all that Trump’s allies will need to argue against those who pursue an obstruction charge.