John Podesta Plays Victim Card in Response to Russia Investigation News

John Podesta Plays Victim Card in Response to Russia Investigation News

The president added, "He and his brother could Drain The Swamp, which would be yet another campaign promise fulfilled".

What, exactly, is President Donald Trump talking about?

Podesta is the founder and now erstwhile chairman of Podesta Group, a powerful lobbyist that found itself ensnared in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the election and links to possible collusion.

"If you want something done in Washington, DC, you go to Tony Podesta", his bio page on the Podesta Group website says. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning, and has alerted clients of his impending departure. "Despite the recession, lobbying scandals and frequent denunciation from President Obama about their outsize influence, lobbyists are more in demand than ever".

"[Tony] was very magnanimous and said, 'This is an incredible group of people, '" a source said of Podesta's remarks. So far in 2017, the Podesta Group has raked in nearly $16 million in lobbying fees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Tony Podesta stepped down from his firm after Mueller's indictment was released, alleging that he had been targeted unfairly by conservative media.

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

Manafort organized a PR campaign on behalf of a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The Podesta Group joined Manafort's efforts in Ukraine, but maintains it believed the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine wasn't tied to a political party.

Manafort had previously worked for a pro-Russian Ukrainian president who was eventually ousted by his people and sought asylum in Russia.

Mercury said in a statement that it "takes its obligations to follow all laws, rules and regulations very seriously" and "has and will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of the Special Counsel in its investigation". Based on our due diligence and on the recommendation of definitive legal experts, the firm filed the appropriate public disclosures of its representation of the ECFMU over five years ago, and in eight subsequent public filings. The firm said at the time that it believed its client was a European think tank with no connections to a political party.

The Podesta Group and Mercury said they relied on assurances provided by the nonprofit group that it was neither funded nor controlled by any foreign government or party.

Beyond being mentioned in the Manafort indictment, it's not clear how large a role the Podesta Group - or Tony Podesta himself - will play in Mueller's investigation going forward. Fritts and a senior group of the Podesta team will be launching a new firm in the next one or two days.

John Podesta is fighting back.

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