As the mainstream media circus ran wild with the Paul Manafort indictment yesterday, Trump, who repeatedly dismissed the charges as being unrelated to his campaign, has just tweeted that the biggest story revealed yesterday, a story which was largely ignored by the “fake news”, was Tony Posesta’s sudden resignation from the powerful lobbying group that bears his name.
Meanwhile, Trump also seemingly called on the Podesta brothers to “Drain the Swamp” by dishing whatever “earth shattering” dirt they have on Democrats to Special Counsel Mueller.
“The biggest story yesterday, the one that has the Dems in a dither, is Podesta running from his firm. What he know 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!”
Of course, as we noted yesterday, the founder of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta, stepped down from his own lobbying shop after coming under investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Meanwhile, even though the Podesta / Manafort news might seem unrelated, as we explained in Aug 2016, Paul Manafort – now under indictment on 12 charges – and his deputy Rick Gates previously worked with the Podesta Group where they lobbied various U.S. senators and congressmen on behalf of various Ukranian officials.
…emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine’s foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits.
And this is where the plot thickens, because while the bulk of the press has so far spun the entire Ukraine lobbying scandal, which led to Manafort’s resignation, as the latest “proof” that pro-Moscow powers were influencing not only Manafort but the Trump campaign in general (who some democrats have even painted of being a Putin agent), the reality is that a firm closely tied with the Democratic party, the Podesta Group, is just as implicated.
As AP further adds, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-linked nonprofit entity which allegedly ran the lobbying project, paid Mercury and the Podesta Group a combined $2.2 million over roughly two years. In papers filed in the U.S. Senate, Mercury and the Podesta Group listed the European nonprofit as an independent, nonpolitical client. The firms said the center stated in writing that it was not aligned with any foreign political entity.
Perhaps Podesta knows what is likely to happen next. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning and is alerting clients of his impending departure.
“[Tony] was very magnanimous and said, “This is an amazing group of people,” a source said of Podesta’s remarks.
Podesta also told staff he “doesn’t intend to go quietly, or learn how to play golf.” He said he “needs to fight this as an individual, but doesn’t want the firm to fight it.”
Fritts also addressed the gathering, telling staff that she is “thrilled at this opportunity” and that, “This is not about me, this is about y’all.”
Several other senior staff spoke about their excitement about the future of the firm. The meeting ended with a standing ovation for Podesta.
It emerged last week that Podesta is the subject of a criminal investigation led by Mueller’s team for potentially violating a federal disclosure law. That law, known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, pertains to working on behalf of foreign governments. An NBC report found that the Podesta Group was one of several firms working on Paul Manafort’s public relations campaign for European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which the Podesta Group claims it thought was a nonpartisan think tank, something which this site reported first last August.
It goes without saying, that Podesta’s brother, John, is arguably one of the top figures in Democratic politics, serving most recently as chief of staff in the Bill Clinton White House and also as the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
What happens next to Tony (and perhaps his brother John) is to be determined, but one thing is clear: both sides of the swamp should probably control themselves in any premature celebrations as this appears to be far from over….