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Hopes shifting as Republicans, Democrats wait for Mueller

FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. Though the special counsel’s findings remain unknown, Trump has grown increasingly confident that the report would produce what he insisted all along _ no clear evidence of a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. And the president and his closest advisers are now considering how to weaponize those possible findings. A subtle change is underway among congressional Democrats, as well, who have long believed the report would offer damning evidence against the president. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

By JONATHAN LEMIRE and MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has been calling the Russia probe a witch hunt for two years. But now, Trump and his allies are starting to see it as something potentially very different: a political opportunity.
Though the special counsel’s findings remain unknown, Trump has grown increasingly confident that the report will produce no clear evidence of a conspiracy between Russia and his election campaign. And the president and his advisers are now considering how to weaponize those possible findings. That’s according to current and former White House officials and Trump confidants who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
A subtle change is also underway among congressional Democrats, who had long believed the report would offer damning evidence against the president.