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Lobbyist Tony Podesta steps down amid Mueller probe

By Danielle Haynes
Lobbyist Tony Podesta steps down amid Mueller probe
Tony Podesta, pictured in 2011, stepped down from his lobbying firm amid an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. File Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta told his company that he was stepping down Monday after the firm was implicated in an indictment accusing Paul Manafort of conspiracy.

Podesta revealed his decision to the company during a meeting Monday and was expected to inform clients, Politico reported.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Podesta and the Podesta Group for its work on a public relations campaign for the non-profit European Center for a Modern Ukraine. Manafort organized the PR effort, which paid the Podesta Group to promote Ukraine in the United States.

The work the Podesta Group did for the European Center for Modern Ukraine also benefitted a Ukrainian political party that Manafort previously advised. The Podesta Group filed paperwork with the Department of Justice, though, saying it was unaware the non-profit was linked to a political party.

The Podesta Group wasn't explicitly mentioned in indictments for Manafort, former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, and Rick Gates, a campaign aide. But The Washington Post reported the company and another lobbying firm, Mercury LLC, are identified as "Company A and Company B."

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Podesta is the brother of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman whose emails were hacked and published by WikiLeaks.

Manafort and Gates both pleaded not guilty Monday to charges including conspiracy, money laundering, tax fraud, failure to file reports of foreign financial assets, serving as an unregistered foreign agent and giving false and misleading statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. A judge placed them on house arrest pending a trial.

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