The indictment served two seemingly contradictory purposes.
On the one hand, it appeared to exonerate Trump campaign from wilful collusion with Russia.
"Some defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign and with other political activists to seek to co-ordinate political activities."Rod Rosenstein added that there was no such allegation in the indictment.
On the other hand, it firmly established that Russia did intervene in the American electoral process. This disproved Trump's claim that Russian intervention was a hoax. The indictment detailed the efforts, the substantial sums of money spent (over a million dollars a month) and the names and activities of the individuals and organizations involved.
Trump can longer call this "fake news."
What is interesting about the indictment is the fact that the inquiry continues. Normally, it should have stopped here with Russia connection divulged and those responsible named.
But that is not the case. Mueller is moving full steam ahead.
That's why I think it is a misdirection.
What this does is to give both sides something to be happy about and relieves the pressure on the Special Counsel.
The calculation is that Trump will feel vindicated and stop plotting about how to fire Mueller.
I expect Trump to tweet about FBI's Florida school shooting blunder or other daily minutiae.
In fact, he might feel confident enough to be interviewed by Mueller.
But from the beginning what Mueller was investigating was money laundering and financial fraud. As Steve Bannon famously put it in Fire and Fury:
“This is about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner ... It’s as plain as a hair on your face ... They’re going to crack Don Jr like an egg on national TV.”In other words, the indictment is a clever misdirection.
Wait for the other shoe to drop.