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First indictments often don't touch the core of an investigation

Paul Manafort accompanied by his lawyers, arrives to at Federal Court, in Washington. Photo: Jose Luis Magana / AP

The first indictments are out in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign. The big questions now are how much leverage Mueller has and how far up this could reach.

Big picture: Past special counsel probes and special prosecutor investigations have often remained at the periphery of what the investigation is focused on, or led somewhere other than where the public and the media thought they might. For instance, investigations during the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations never led to charges at the core of the probes.