In a day filled with breaking news, guilty pleas, and non-stop commentary, the latest twist erupting is that Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, is stepping down from his role in the D.C. lobbying firm he founded.
Let us be perfectly clear. This is NOT John Podesta, the Clinton campaign manager, but his brother Tony.
Politico reports that his resignation follows reports that his group filed paperwork in April that they had been lobbying on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. “Podesta Group said at the time it believed its client was a European think tank untethered to a political party.”
However, this was the same organization that Paul Manafort organized a PR effort for and the Podesta Group was one of the firms he hired to promote this effort. The simple fact that Manafort was involved with this group should have sent up immediate red flags.
But it now appears that Podesta is also a target of the Mueller investigation for one of the same charges that were levelled against Manafort and Gates – “unregistered agent of a foreign principal.” This is also at least one of the charges that former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn may face.
Whether intentionally or inadvertently failing to file does not offer a valid defense. This demonstrates a lack of due diligence required of any lobbying firm working with foreign entities.
If Podesta is guilty of this offense, then it is imperative that Mueller file charges against him as well. This investigation needs to show that it goes beyond politics and is a matter of law. And that no one, Republican or Democrat, President or low-level operative, is above the law.
It will also put paid to those people like Trump who claim that this is merely a political witch hunt being conducted only against Republicans.
And just when we thought this day couldn’t get any crazier.