Elder Patriot – The Democrats’ insistence on appointing Robert Mueller to probe into the alleged ties between Trump and Russia has finally ensnared a campaign member who actually colluded with Russia for profit.
There’s only one minor detail that’s not going to sit well with the Dems, it’s Hillary Clinton’s campaign CEO John Podesta who is now in Mueller’s crosshairs.
Mueller’s special investigation team has interviewed multiple people from the Podesta Group, who appear to have been coordinating efforts with recently indicted Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates to lobby on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainian group.
Knowledge of Mueller’s investigation led Tony Podesta, John’s brother, to resign from The Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists.
The million-dollar question is, if he did nothing wrong, why leave his position as the Podesta Group’s CEO?
Podesta and Manafort both lobbied for foreign entities and both failed to properly register as foreign agents but this is not unusual and is usually remedied by filing the paperwork after the fact. Unless, of course there’s something more sinister involved.
Because there is no evidence so far that Manafort colluded with the Russians in an illegal manner he has pled not guilty to the indictment for failing to register.
For Tony Podesta and his brother John the evidence is significantly more damning and that evidence has little to do with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine that he and Manafort both did work for.
Essentially, Tony Podesta had an agent sitting on the board of a Kremlin connected energy company. In addition to that the agent had the ability to influence U.S. policy decisions that would affect that company.
That agent was John Podesta. He sat on the executive board of Joule Unlimited a Kremlin-connected energy company that received millions of dollars from a Russian government fund that Putin controls. Podesta received 75,000 common shares that he later transferred to a holding company, Leonidio, LLC presumably to hide his ownership interest in Joule.
This meant that John Podesta, who served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff and was running Hillary Clinton’s campaign, most likely would have been given a prominent role in a Hillary Clinton administration as he was in her husband’s White House.
This would’ve given him enormous influence in shaping our energy policy to benefit Russia. And any benefit to the Russian energy sector, in turn, would’ve driven the value of Podesta’s stock higher.
There’s also the likelihood that Hillary stood to benefit handsomely from Podesta’s Russian ties. It’s almost unfathomable that any crime boss would otherwise allow an underling to engage in an arrangement that could also bring them down if they weren’t expecting a significant payoff for the risk.
Now we learn that Kimberley Fritts, who replaced Tony Podesta as the chief executive of the Podesta Group has told the firm’s employees the firm would be closing its operations before the end of the year. Employees were asked to clear out their desks and were told they may not be paid beyond November 15.
This is a significant development for what once was one of K Street’s most influential lobbying groups and it only makes sense if it’s being done in the hopes that Mueller will cease investigating the Podesta brothers now that he has this scalp.
We have already witnessed Mueller’s dogged determination to take down President Trump by expanding his investigation well beyond the original scope of the Russia probe.
Now that he actually has evidence of collusion between a campaign member and a Kremlin-connected entity we will see if he pursues the Podestas as aggressively as we have already witnessed his pursuit of Trump’s associates.
The bet here is that Mueller will use the closing of the Podesta Group as an excuse for not looking any further into John’s ties with Russia. It’s getting too close to the Queen Bee, who Mueller has spent a good portion of his career protecting, for him to go any further.