Tony Podesta bails on lobbying firm amid Mueller probe

Image Paul Manafort campaign manager to Republican Presidential Candidate Trump leaves as reporters ask about the Republican National Convention Committee on Rules in Cleveland

Image Paul Manafort campaign manager to Republican Presidential Candidate Trump leaves as reporters ask about the Republican National Convention Committee on Rules in Cleveland

Amid Mueller's investigation, Podesta announced Monday that he was leaving The Podesta Group, the lobbying firm he co-founded.

Two unnamed companies were solicited by Manafort and Gates, Manafort's longtime business partner, to engage in lobbying on the Hill on behalf of the Ukrainian government, with the Centre nominally being listed as their client, according to the indictment. But The Washington Post reported Monday that Podesta told his firm's employees that it was "impossible to run a public affairs firm while you are under attack by Fox News and the right-wing media".

Mr. Podesta's lawyer on Monday sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Fox News host over his claims on air that Mr. Podesta and his brother, John Podesta, who served as chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, worked closely with Mr. Manafort on behalf of Russian Federation.

"Mr. Podesta, a garrulous, gravelly voiced man known for his bold neckwear, is part of the elite group of lobbyists atop the industry who move easily between black-tie fund-raisers on Embassy Row and closed meetings on Capitol Hill".

It's the latter that has caused issues for Podesta in relation to the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller. In what Mueller's team describes as a "scheme", Manafort and Gates put together a PR campaign to rally support in D.C. for Ukraine and its former president Viktor Yanukovych without properly registering with the USA government. Manafort worked for the Party of Regions, a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party whose president, Viktor Yanukovych, ruled Ukraine between 2010 and 2014.

Podesta, 74, is the founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, which has been described by The New York Times as "one of Washington's biggest players".

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"[Tony] was very magnanimous", and said, "This is an incredible group of people", a source present at the meeting stated, according to Politico.

Both Manafort's firm and the Podesta Group filed FARA registrations for the ECMU work only after the payments were reported by the media past year.

"The Podesta Group has fully cooperated with the special counsel's office and taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms compliance with the law", the company said in a statement.

Both Tony Podesta and Manafort have been accused of failing to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a regulation requiring Americans working for foreign leaders, political groups or governments to disclose their activities to the U.S. Department of Justice. It subsequently amended its required filings.

What Trump seems to be doing in his tweets is trying to wrap Manafort, Tony Podesta and John Podesta into one big ball of corruption.

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