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Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's shop doesn't leak, but last week's 37-page indictment of Russians provided a mess of clues about what he's up to.

The big picture: Here are five things we've learned from the indictment and our reporting surrounding the overall Russia probe.

  1. He's moving fast. The indictment is a sneak peek at the level of sweep and color we can expect in a final report, and is a mammoth accomplishment just nine months after Mueller was appointed. A source familiar with the investigation told me it won't take years, like Ken Starr's probe of Bill Clinton.
  2. He's using the full reach of federal power, including the intelligence agencies, whose sources and methods were reflected in the indictment. CNN contributor Garrett Graff, who wrote a bookabout Mueller as FBI director, told me: "[T]he main (and ongoing) surprise is the strength and breadth of this investigation."
  3. He's signaling quantity: MSNBC contributor Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman, told me: "Friday’sindictment established the legal architecture for possible future charges. Once you’ve established there was a conspiracy, you can charge anyone who was aware of the conspiracy and took an overt action to further it." Miller also expects tax charges.
  4. He's watching his back: The indictment-announcement presser by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the investigation, was meant to signal that Mueller intends to be efficient and transparent. With the quick revelations about Russia and the election, Mueller was signaling this isn't a fishing expedition. And he made it harder for Trump to fire him.
  5. What's coming: The source familiar with the investigation expects Mueller to reach some conclusion about the hacks of email belonging to the DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Matt Miller told me: "Now that [Mueller] has decided to indict one set of Russian participants, it seems likely he will indict the Russian participants in the hacking as well. The big question ... remains whether there will be any American co-conspirators."
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Go deeper

Pelosi calls raising the debt ceiling a bipartisan responsibility

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a "dear colleague" statement Sunday evening, calling on Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Why it matters: Congress is fast approaching an October deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown. But the issue has become a thorny partisan stand-off.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.

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