Manafort Indictment Describes Lobbying Scheme To Hide Ties To Ukraine Gov't

01 November, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Image Tony Podesta

"Now I'm the victim of a big lie campaign by the American President".

How did a prominent Democratic lobbyist get wrapped up in an investigation of Russia's efforts to help Trump and hurt Clinton in the 2016 race?

Experts say Manafort and Gates could spend decades behind bars if convicted.

On Monday, the world watched as Manafort and Gates turned themselves in to the team led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller and that Papadopolous had pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators, but it also learned that Podesta, a Democrat, stepped down from his lobbying firm the Podesta Group after being drawn into the investigation by the counsel as well. Manafort turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday, after being indicted on 12 counts, among which were "conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts". Manafort worked for the Party of Regions, a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party whose president, Viktor Yanukovych, ruled Ukraine between 2010 and 2014. The companies were later revealed to be the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, according to NBC News. Because Manafort had been initially hired to elect Yanukovych, once he achieved this in 2010, he began a campaign to legitimize him in the eyes of the USA and the European Union by portraying him as angling to join the European bloc.

The news was first reported by Politico.

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Podesta "was very magnanimous and said, 'This is an incredible group of people, '" a source told Politico, recalling Tony Podesta's remarks. The group also had extensive contacts with the State Department and the National Security Council in 2012 in the lead-up to the Ukrainian elections that year.

The partner added that the effort had been fueled partly by Mr. Podesta's aggressive efforts to defend himself against coverage by the conservative news media on the special counsel's scrutiny of the Podesta Group.

The Podesta Group and Mercury said they relied on assurances provided by the nonprofit group that it was neither funded nor controlled by any foreign government or party.

The FARA filings document the intense lobbying campaign undertaken on behalf of the center. His decision to step down is a significant outcome of Mueller's probe, but he's drawn outsize interest on the right because he's the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. However, he has received numerous donations from his brother, who has been a donor for a wide swath of Democratic causes.

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