John Podesta: I Am Victim of 'Big Lie Campaign' by Trump

Image Tony Podesta

The Podesta brothers founded the firm in 1988, and John left in 1993.

According to Manafort's indictment, he and Gates created a think tank in Brussels, Belgium called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which then solicited lobbying services from two companies that were only identified in the indictment documents as companies "A" and "B".

Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Tony Podesta, a major Democratic Washington player, is stepping aside from his lobbying firm amid the special counsel's investigation, he began telling people Monday.

A central figure in Democratic politics in Washington, Podesta is also the brother of John Podesta, a longtime adviser of Hillary Clinton, her former campaign chairman, and a former adviser to President Barack Obama. 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.


Monday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled the first charges from his investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. 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. In what Mueller's team describes as a "scheme", Manafort and Gates put together a PR campaign to rally support in D.C. for Ukraine and its former president Viktor Yanukovych without properly registering with the USA government.

Manafort used the Podesta Group and Mercury as part of a two-pronged strategy he was pursuing as a consultant for the Ukrainian Party of Regions, which was the ruling party during the tenure of ousted Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Podesta "was very magnanimous and said, 'This is an awesome group of people, '" a source told Politico, recalling Tony Podesta's remarks. The Podesta Group's work for ECFMU, a non profit think tank, was in support of Ukraine's admission to the European Union, a position supported by foreign policy experts at the time.

In April, the Podesta Group and Mercury filed belated FARA disclosures with the Justice Department outlining their work with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. "The ECFMU provided formal certification that it was neither funded by nor directed by a government or political party". He said that even before the announcement, some of the firm's senior partners were trying to convince clients to remain with them as they worked to reintroduce the company with branding that would not include Mr. Podesta's name.

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