Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta Steps Down Amid Mueller Probe

Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta Steps Down Amid Mueller Probe

The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources.

Spokesmen for Podesta and Mercury didn't return calls and emails seeking comment on whether they are Company A and B identified in the indictment.

Additionally, Manafort kept in touch with Yanukovych, via verbal and written communications, and passed his instructions on to Gates to then pass on to the lobbying companies, the indictment alleged.

In April, the Podesta Group filed paperwork with the Justice Department stating it had done work for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which also benefited the same political party in Ukraine that Manafort had at one point advised.

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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". Another source told Politico he said he "doesn't intend to go quietly", but he "needs to fight this as an individual, but doesn't want the firm to fight it". FARA requires representatives of foreign governments, political parties and foreign-government controlled organizations to disclose detailed information about their activities, including each contact they make with a government official. The disclosures covered the period from April 2012 through April 2014. 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. According to Monday's indictment, the center was created in 2012 and used by Manafort, Gates and others to conduct a public relations campaign in the USA and Europe on behalf of the Yanukovych regime. That raised concerns that the brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta might know more than he's letting on about Russian Federation meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort now faces a 12-count indictment related to his work in Ukraine.

Mercury's lobbying effort was led by Vin Weber, a former Republican member of Congress.

The resignation of high-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta from the firm bearing his name follows a string of failures by him to disclose his advocacy for foreign entities that put him under the microscope of special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning, and has alerted clients of his impending departure.

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