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Tony Podesta leaves lobbying firm amid Robert Mueller probe

31 October 2017

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos have all been charged in Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into Russian election interference.

Tony Podesta, a Democratic power lobbyist, announced to colleagues Monday that he is stepping down amid a series of indictments that cast a shadow on work his firm had done with Paul Manafort that may have benefited a Ukrainian regime friendly to the Kremlin. Fritts and a "senior group of the Podesta team", Politico reported, would be forming a new firm within days, the result of a reportedly months-long transition in the works.

Podesta likely stepped down because he didn't want to inconvenience the firm any more-the Podesta Group has lost several clients and revenue streams since the Mueller investigation began.

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"[Tony] was very magnanimous and said, "This is an fantastic group of people", a source said of Podesta's remarks".

Fritts also addressed the gathering, telling staff that she is "thrilled at this opportunity" and that, "This is not about me, this is about y'all". His finances included a campaign for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which the Podesta Group worked on.

Between 2012 and 2014, the lobbying firms were paid more than $2 million from the accounts, prosecutors said.

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Additionally, former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his meetings with a professor he knew was tied to the Russian government who offered him "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. FARA requires representatives of foreign governments, political parties and foreign-government controlled organizations to disclose detailed information about their activities, including each contact they make with a government official. Among other issues, Mercury opposed congressional efforts to pressure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych's political rivals from prison.

"It is impossible to run a public affairs firm while you are under attack by Fox News and the right wing media", he told his former employees, according to a person familiar with his remarks. The agency is launching a new firm soon, a move that came as dozens of lobbying clients cut ties with the firm this year amid the allegations.

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Tony Podesta leaves lobbying firm amid Robert Mueller probe