Under Scrutiny From Mueller, Tony Podesta Resigns From His Lobbying Firm

Dem lobbyist Podesta steps down amid Mueller scrutiny report

Greg Nash

Powerful Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta says he's stepping down from the firm he and his brother built - an unexpected, bipartisan shock wave from special counsel Robert Mueller III's indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. 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". The charges detailed Manafort's clandestine influence campaign on behalf of Ukraine's deposed president Viktor Yanukovych, including work with two unidentified companies that "lobbied multiple members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of Yanukovych's imprisoning his presidential rival".

Several other senior staffers spoke about the future of the firm and their excitement about the changes.

The indictment was the subject of intense interest on K Street, where the Justice Department's enforcement of the foreign lobbying requirements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act is widely seen as toothless. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning, and has alerted clients of his impending departure.

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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. We have ample evidence from Mueller's indictment, from a number of confidential sources to paint a pretty clear picture of exactly what the Podesta group was doing for years here in Washington.

A representative for the Podesta Group said the firm initially did not disclose its work with the ECMU to the FARA officials because the nonprofit "had certified that it was neither funded nor directed by a foreign government or political party", according to NBC News. The news that Podesta will be interviewed came after Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted by the same probe. Manafort and Gates approached "Company A" and "Company B" in 2012 about lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, according to the indictment that was unsealed Monday.

An attorney representing Democratic mega-lobbyist Tony Podesta sent the Fox News host a letter demanding that the show "immediately cease and desist disseminating false and misleading reports about Mr. Podesta and the Podesta group", Carlson said Monday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight". Podesta, who said the project was vetted by his firm's counsel, said he was unaware of any such disagreements. The firm brought in an estimated $4.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, down from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2016.

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