Mueller’s indictment only scratches the surface of a widespread conspiracy

As mentioned earlier, the great unanswered question is whether the conspiracy included anyone involved in the Trump campaign. And the answer is: We still don’t know. The president’s supporters will point to language in the indictment about the defendants contacting “unwitting individuals” associated with the Trump campaign. Someone who is unwittingly involved is not a co-conspirator. If Mueller had the goods on members of the campaign, wouldn’t they be included in this indictment?

Perhaps — but not necessarily. There were reports late Friday afternoon that Mueller’s inquiry into Russian meddling is not yet complete. With a grand jury investigation shrouded in secrecy, any prediction is an exercise in reading tea leaves. But there could be any number of reasons for Mueller to not yet show his full hand.

Once an indictment is returned, the grand jury’s work on the charged offenses must cease. If the investigation is not yet complete, prosecutors could choose to bring an initial indictment against Russian participants while continuing the grand jury investigation against others.