Political expert: Manafort indictment just the beginning

Posted November 01, 2017

Podesta announced his decision to leave The Podesta Group during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning and is alerting clients of his impending departure, Politico reported.

Unlike Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his protégé Rick Gates, Podesta has yet to be charged with any crimes.

The Podesta Group and another firm, Mercury Public Affairs, were referenced in the indictments, though not by name.

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Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta is stepping down from his lobbying firm Monday after becoming a subject of investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. According to Politico, the firm recently lost some clients, and brought in $4.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, down from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2016.

For most news outlets, the first indictments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation was the biggest story of the day, but on Monday evening right-wing sites like Breitbart, Drudge, and the Daily Caller were more interested in the resignation of powerful Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. By working with none other than Paul Manafort, the one-time campaign chairman for Trump, who now faces a 12-count indictment linked to his work in Ukraine.

The Podesta Group has repeatedly insisted that it was unaware that Manafort was using the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine to improve the image of then-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Around 2012, an entity called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was created to be a "mouth piece" for the pro-Russia party, the indictment alleged, noting it ceased its operations after Yanukovych was ousted in 2014.

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To this end, the traditionally left-leaning Podesta Group lobbied members of Congress "about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections" and the validity of the jailing of Yanukovych's political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the indictment papers.

"It demands we retract and delete all our prior reporting on the Podesta Group and warns if we don't do this, quote, 'Mr". "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. The ECFMU provided formal certification that it was neither funded by nor directed by a government or political party".

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted in an effort to draw more attention to Podesta's resignation.

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