A Democratic lobbying firm is now being investigated as part of the sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related matters by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a new report.
NBC News reports that the Podesta Group, a Democrat-leaning lobbying firm run by the brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, as part of the investigation into Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Here’s what you need to know:
- It all comes back to Manafort:: Trump’s former campaign chairman has been a focus of Mueller’s probe for months, with the special counsel’s team reportedly telling him to expect an indictment as a result of the investigation. The Podesta Group was one of many firms that worked with Manafort’s public relations campaign for a non-profit that backed pro-Russia candidates in Ukraine, NBC News reports.
- Snowballing:: The investigation into the Podesta Group started as a fact-finding mission, according to NBC News, but grew into a criminal investigation into whether the lobbying firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
- The firm is cooperating: In a statement to the news outlet, the Podesta Group said it is “cooperating fully” with Mueller’s probe and “has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance.”
- No, this isn’t Hillary–Russia collusion news: NBC News reports that John Podesta is not involved in Mueller’s investigation.
- Turning the Manafort key: Earlier this year, federal agents raided Manafort’s home. At the time, it was reported that Mueller could be trying to build a separate legal case against the former campaign chairman to try and get information against other Trump campaign officials.
You can read all of NBC News’ report here.