Tony Podesta Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Tucker Carlson

Image Viktor Yanukovych

Tony Podesta, who stepped down from his position as the head of the lobbying firm the Podesta Group on Monday, reportedly worked with Manafort's lobbying firm that had sought to ease the Obama administration's tough stance toward Ukraine's Russian-backed government.

Two lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, are the unnamed companies in the grand jury indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, three sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

Manafort allegedly enlisted the help of The Podesta Group, which did work for a group known as the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.

"Mr. Podesta, a garrulous, gravelly voiced man known for his bold neckwear, is part of the elite group of lobbyists atop the industry who move easily between black-tie fund-raisers on Embassy Row and closed meetings on Capitol Hill". Around 2012, an entity called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was created to be a "mouth piece" for the pro-Russia party, the indictment alleged, noting it ceased its operations after Yanukovych was ousted in 2014.

Both Manafort and the Podesta Group failed to register as lobbyists acting on behalf of a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The Party of the Regions is a pro-Kremlin political base for Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russian Federation three years ago.

To this end, the traditionally left-leaning Podesta Group lobbied members of Congress "about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections" and the validity of the jailing of Yanukovych's political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the indictment papers.

But in the wake of the Mueller investigation the Podesta Group has struggled. "Based on our due diligence and on the recommendation of definitive legal experts, the firm immediately filed the appropriate public disclosures of its representation of the ECFMU over five years ago, and in eight subsequent public filings".

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". The firm said at the time that it believed its client was a European think tank with no connections to a political party.

Podesta will hand over full operational and financial control of the Podesta Group to CEO Kimberly Fritts.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted in an effort to draw more attention to Podesta's resignation.

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