President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the ‘biggest story’ emerging from special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal bloodbath on Monday is the resignation of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta from the firm he started with his brother John.
John Podesta chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Tony Podesta is essentially dissolving his lobbying firm in what an insider says will be a move to stay ahead of a coming indictment from Mueller.
The Podesta Group is set to be reincarnated as a new firm, an employee told DailyMail.com on Monday night, one that won’t be legally liable for anything the old one engaged in.
‘The biggest story yesterday, the one that has the Dems in a dither, is Podesta running from his firm,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.
‘What he know[s] about Crooked Dems is earth shattering. He and his brother could Drain The Swamp, which would be yet another campaign promise fulfilled. Fake News weak!’
BIGGER NEWS? President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a Democratic power-lobbyist’s resignation from his own firm is more significant than the indictment of Paul Manafort
Tony Podesta’s quick distancing from the firm he started with his brother – Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager – ‘has the Dems in a dither,’ Trump tweeted
Top Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta told staff he was leaving the eponymous firm he founded with his powerful brother, on a day two top Trump campaign officials were indicted
A 12-count indictment unsealed Monday charges Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, with money laundering on a massive scale and failure to register as a foreign agent.
Separately, Mueller’s team announced a guilty plea from a low-level campaign volunteer adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted to lying to the FBI about the time-frame of communications he had with Russian intermediaries.
Monday’s indictment identified two firms as ‘Company A’ and ‘Company B’ as recipients of more than $2 million in offshore funds from Manafort.
Several news outlets reported that the Podesta Group is the latter entity. The firm disclosed in April that it had worked for an organization called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine to burnish that nation’s image in the West.
Then-candidate Donald Trump first Manafort after reports that he pocketed at least $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor Yanukovych (pictured), the pro-Russia former Ukrainian president.
Podesta is a top Democratic lobbyist and brother of John Podesta, who helped run Hillary Clinton’s campaign
Manafort oversaw that group, nominally a nonprofit organization but reportedly conceived to be a mouthpiece for deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.
‘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,’ according to a statement the firm issued Monday.
The Podesta brothers founded their firm in 1988.
The hacking of John Podesta’s personal emails is one of the key factors in the investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, which underscores the significance of Tony Podesta’s role.
Manafort represented Yanukovych’s political party and is charged with orchestrating a vast money laundering scheme to hide foreign payments he stashed overseas.
According to the Manafort indictment, Gates wrote Company A that it would be ‘representing the Government of Ukraine in [Washington] D.C.’ Manafort repeatedly communicated with Yanukovych, who led the Party of Regions and served as president of Ukraine before being ousted.
Then-candidate Donald Trump stood alongside Paul Manafort at the 2016 Republican National Convention; Manafort was indicted Monday
POWER COUPLE: Tony Podesta and his wife Heather Podesta ran separate lobbying firms, but it’s Tony’s that has come under scrutiny by federal investigators
Such lobbying requires disclosure with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Both Manafort’s firm and the Podesta Group only filed amended forms acknowledging the work following media reports.
The firms were paid not by their ‘nominal client, the Centre,’ but through offshore accounts associated with Manafort and Gates headquartered in Cyprus and the Grenadines.
They took in more than $2 million in payments between 2012 and 2014.
The work outlined in the indictment was extensive. The firms ‘engaged in weekly scheduled calls and frequent emails’ with Manafort and Gates.
They provided detailed reports on their work, and communicated with Yanukovych, as well as ‘with United States officials in connection with this work.’
Some of the evidence came from a July early morning raid of Manafort’s home.
Seizures from the home and email accounts ‘revealed numerous documents, including documents related to lobbying, which were more than thirty-days old at the time of the November 2016 letter to the Department of Justice’ – meaning they should have been disclosed.
Manafort (center) turned himself in at FBI headquarters on Monday, under fire for possible money laundering and conspiracy related to his work for Ukraine’s former president
According to a statement the group provided to DailyMail.com last week, “The Podesta Group fully disclosed its representation of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECFMU), and complied with FARA by filing under the lobbying disclosure act over five years ago and within weeks of starting our work. Any insinuation to the contrary is false.’
A spokesperson added: ‘Based on our due diligence and on the recommendation of definitive legal experts, the firm immediately filed the appropriate public disclosures of its representation of the ECFMU over five years ago, and in eight subsequent public filings.’
Headed to a judge: Paul Manafort was driven by his lawyer on Monday morning to turn himself in
In his heyday Podesta was one of D.C.’s power lobbyists, with an unusual professional partnership with his wife, Heather Podesta, who was also a fixture on the city’s party circuit.
But by 2014 the two were engaged in an angry divorce with a dispute over art assets as well as the separate lobbying shops that each headed.
The couple squabbled over high-priced D.C. real estate, famous paintings and lithographs, and the value and cache provided by the Podesta name, Washingtonian reported at the time.
In a sign of how plugged-in Podesta remains, he was spotted at a surprise 70th birthday party for Hillary Clinton over the weekend. Also present were former Clinton advisers John Podesta, Huma Abedin, and Sidney Blumenthal, according toPolitico.