John Podesta: I'm the victim of a 'big lie campaign' by Trump

Image Viktor Yanukovych

One former Podesta employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement, said Gates described the nonprofit's role in an April, 2012 meeting as supplying a source of money that could not be traced to the Ukrainian politicians who were paying him and Manafort.

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

The revelation of the companies' identities points to more details about the players involved in the high-stakes venture run by Manafort and Gates to push the interest of a pro-Russia Ukranian political party inside the United States.

The investigation into Podesta and his firm initially started when Manafort's finances were examined by Mueller's unit. Fritts and a senior group of the Podesta team will be launching a new firm in the next one or two days.

Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman John Podesta, has stepped down from his namesake lobbying group citing the current news environment, according to a source familiar with the situation.

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.

In the indictment unsealed this morning, Manafort has been charged with violating FARA after failing to register as a foreign agent.

After being introduced to the lobbying firms, the European nonprofit paid the Podesta Group $1.13 million between June 2012 and April 2014 to lobby Congress, the White House National Security Council, the State Department and other federal agencies, according to USA lobbying records.

Podesta was the target of an email hack during the 2016 presidential election.

A spokeswoman for Mercury could not be reached for comment.

"Podesta's lawyer wasn't trying to inform us of anything, but to threaten us-to shut down our reporting on his client", Carlson said.

The Podesta Group was wrapped up in the indictments announced on Monday because of work related to Ukraine it did for Manafort. Carlson also reported that Manafort's company, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, was a major client of the Podesta group. "The Podesta Group has fully cooperated with the special counsel's office and taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms compliance with the law".

As John rose up the ranks of Democratic politics, Tony was following a similar ascent in the world of political influence - emerging as one of the most powerful Democratic lobbyists (and biggest party donors) in Washington.

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