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Monday, April 22, 2019
HomeNewsPoliticsMueller Probed Witnesses About Podesta Group Lobbying for Russian Interests at Clinton State Department

Mueller Probed Witnesses About Podesta Group Lobbying for Russian Interests at Clinton State Department

From left to right: Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman; Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and special counsel; and Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and head of the Podesta Group. (Photos: AP)
From left to right: Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman; Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and special counsel; and Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and head of the Podesta Group. (Photos: AP)

From left to right: Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman; Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and special counsel; and Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and head of the Podesta Group. (Photos: AP)

Prosecutors for Special Counsel Robert Mueller probed witnesses about the role The Podesta Group played in advancing Russian interests at the State Department under Hillary Clinton. The revelations come as Mr. Mueller and his team reportedly secured their first indictment, with arrests to come as early as Monday.

Sources with knowledge of the interviews told People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) witnesses, one a former employee at The Podesta Group, were peppered with questions surrounding their knowledge of the relationship between Tony Podesta and Paul Manafort, which began at least in 2011.

Tony Podesta is the brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who also came under fire for failing to disclose his ties to the Russian-funded Joule Unlimited before he went to work in the Obama Administration. The company gave him 75,000 shares, which were only scrutinized after the 2016 election.

According to sources, the line of questioning clearly indicated the Special Counsel was focused on two potential criminal activities.

First, the Democratic lobbying firm worked on a public relations campaign for the non-profit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which aimed to promote the image of the then-Russian satellite regime. The campaign was organized by Mr. Manafort and raises the question of whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump's national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S., June 9, 2016.

Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, exits following a meeting of Donald Trump’s national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S., June 9, 2016.

The law requires those who lobby on behalf of foreign agents to file disclosures with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Neither Mr. Manafort nor The Podesta Group appeared to have been in compliance with FARA. By filing a retroactive FARA disclosure this April, the liberal firm admitted to the lobbying activities.

Second, the access to Clinton’s State Department The Podesta Group provided to Mr. Manafort acting on behalf of the Russians, overlaps with the controversial Uranium One deal.

In 2011, the Obama Administration approved a deal allowing Tenex, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom, to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Prior to the decision, Tenex was only allowed to sell U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the Megatons to Megawatts Program, which began in 1993 and expired in December 2013.

The deal advanced Russia’s effort to corner the world uranium market and gave Moscow control of more than 20% of America’s uranium supply. In January 2013, just one year before the Megatons to Megawatts Program ended, Rosatom purchased Uranium One through its subsidiary ARMZ Uranium Holding for $1.3 billion.

Sources indicate Mr. Mueller’s team discovered at least one meeting between Mr. Podesta and members of the Clinton Foundation, which is believed to have been held for the advancement of the nuclear deal. All of the board members from Rosatom donated to the Clinton Foundation, bringing estimates upwards of $100 million.

Tony Podesta, then-the Pennsylvania manager for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, speaks to Associated Press reporters in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004. (Photo: AP)

Tony Podesta, then-the Pennsylvania manager for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, speaks to Associated Press reporters in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004. (Photo: AP)

Worth noting, a Russian bank pushing for Uranium One paid former President Bill Clinton roughly $500,000 for a speaking fee in 2010. In 2009, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uncovered a massive bribery, corruption and racketeering scheme before the Obama Administration approved the nuclear deal as the result of an investigation that began when Mr. Mueller was still the director.

Last Wednesday, DOJ cleared an FBI confidential informant to testify before Congress on Uranium One.

His friendship with fired FBI director James Comey and, now, the new revelations about his role in overseeing the investigation into Uranium One has prompted new calls for Mr. Mueller to resign.

The law and DOJ policy governing special counsels states no person shall “participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”

The Uranium One deal is currently under investigation by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and resignation calls in the Republican-controlled House are growing.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller arrives at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller arrives at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (Photo: AP)

“The federal code could not be clearer – Mueller is compromised by his apparent conflict of interest in being close with James Comey,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who first called for Mr. Mueller to step down over the summer, said in a statement. “The appearance of a conflict is enough to put Mueller in violation of the code. … All of the revelations in recent weeks make the case stronger.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling for a new Special Counsel to investigate the controversial Obama-Clinton era nuclear deal. While his committee also launched an investigation, only the powers granted to a federal prosecutor can get to the bottom of what appears to be a “pay-for-play” quid pro quo.

Democrats, with the hope Mr. Mueller’s investigation politically or legally damages President Donald Trump, have defended the former FBI director. But with his focus turning to The Podesta Group and the Clinton State Department, they may have made a grave miscalculation.

Written by
Staff Writing Group

People's Pundit Daily delivers reader-funded data journalism covering the latest news in politics, polls, elections, business, the economy and markets.

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