The Straits Times says

Post-Mueller, a new start for Trump?

The Trump administration has entered a new, forceful phase with the conclusion of the nearly two-year-long investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Mr Mueller did not establish that Mr Donald Trump conspired or coordinated with Russia's efforts to influence the election, or find evidence that the President sought to obstruct related federal investigations. Mr Mueller also did not recommend any further indictments beyond the 34 already obtained that included Mr Trump's former national security adviser, his former lawyer and his one-time campaign chairman. The vindication is a consequential political victory for Mr Trump who had been tagged with allegations of collusion since the start of his term. It ought to allow the administration to fully focus on urgent matters, including the pending trade deal with China.

Now that the prospect of Mr Trump's impeachment has receded, China will find itself reckoning with a more stable White House and the likelihood that the President will be re-elected. That may make Beijing more amenable to reforms that the US says are necessary for fair trade. Notably, both sides have the incentive to close a deal. As the 2020 election season approaches, Mr Trump must win back farmers and others who took a hit from his tariffs. China's slowing economy stands to reap big benefits from an end to tariffs. Good tidings may be expected from the US trade delegation's trip to Beijing for talks today, and from the return visit by the Chinese team to the US the following week. That could pave the way for a grand deal between Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, perhaps before the June Group of 20 meeting in Tokyo. It would not be a moment too soon. Anxiety has ticked up about drooping global growth and a US recession.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'Post-Mueller, a new start for Trump?'. Print Edition | Subscribe