Mueller Probes Podesta Group

Manafort at Trump campaign speech

Tony Podesta is John Podesta's brother, Clinton's campaign manager during the 2016 presidential election.

Gingrich was responding to reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling into us elections now includes lobbyist Tony Podesta, who is the brother of Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager John Podesta.

Citing three sources with knowledge of the investigation, the Podesta Group became the focus as the special counsel was looking into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

After reporting during the 2016 campaign revealed more details of Manafort's work for the pro-Russia Ukrainian party, Party of Regions, and its leader Viktor Yanukovych, who has since been ousted from Ukraine, the Podesta Group hired an outside law firm to look at the work it did for the Manafort-connected non-profit.

According to NBC, sources said a fact-finding mission about Manafort and his role has led to a criminal inquiry into whether the Podesta Group violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Yanukovych fled to Russian Federation in 2014 following mass protests that erupted after he obstructed the country's attempts to join the European Union.

The Podesta Group did not disclose its work to the appropriate government regulators until media reports forced its hand. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided his Virginia home in July, seizing documents and other materials.

John Podesta also came under fire for failing to disclose his ties to a Russian-backed company before he went to work in the Obama Administration. Among other things, the firm sent fliers, op-eds and other informational packets to Hill aides and other government officials advocating for Ukraine's acceptance into the European Union and arguing that the sketchy 2012 election in Ukraine was in fact clean.

In a statement to NBC News, a spokesman for the Podesta Group said the company was "cooperating fully with the Special Counsel's office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance". As the Associated Press reported in August 2016, Manafort had at one point successfully helped the party to route $2.2 million in payments to us lobbying groups, a revelation that resulted in his prompt resignation from his role within the Trump campaign. The Podesta Group's Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosures list no contact with John Podesta on behalf of a foreign government client in either the second half of 2014 or the first half of 2015.

In August, Mueller issued grand jury subpoenas to six public relations firms-including the Podesta Group-that were involved in the ECMU campaign, NBC News reported.

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