Special counsel Robert Mueller just sent a searing missile across the bow of the Trump administration in the form of an indictment of Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager. The indictment is a prosecutorial work of art. It is highly specific and identifies multiple transactions reaching back several years. The charges include tax evasion, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and even the suggestion of mortgage fraud involving a Manafort relative.
Without doubt, the indictment signals a very significant turn in the investigation. Let's be clear: none of the charges relate to Manafort's role in the Trump campaign and all of the alleged illegal activities took place well before he became Trump's campaign manager. But the indictment is important for three reasons.
First, it gives Mueller and his team job security for the time being. No one is going to fire a special counsel who has just indicted the President's former campaign manager. So for now, Mueller has a complete path to continue and expand his investigation with no interference from the administration or Congress. He can use the full resources of the federal government and FBI to investigate just about anything he wants to. This will likely include matters well-beyond the campaign such as Trump's taxes, business deals, and the activities of Trump's family and friends. Mueller's work may never reach the concept of Russian "collusion" (which, by the way, is not a federal crime), if he can find criminal violations apart from the campaign itself