While Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate allegations of Trump administration collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, the probe has expanded to the Democratic lobbying firm run by the brother of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, according to sources who spoke to NBC News.
The report comes on the heels of news that an FBI informant was blocked from testifying of Russian efforts to influence the Clintons and the Obama administration regarding the sale of Uranium One to a Moscow-controlled company, which effectively gave the Russians control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves.
The Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, has a tie to Uranium One, having received $180,000 from the company to lobby Hillary Clinton’s State Department, according to Open Secrets. The New York Times reported in April 2016 that “as the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Monday the secretive, Kremlin-linked, green-energy company for which John Podesta served as a board member, Joule Unlimited, apparently met its demise because of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss.
WND reported last year that Joule received $35 million from a Putin-connected Russian government fund at the same time then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spearheaded the transfer of U.S. advanced technology, some with military uses, as part of her “reset” strategy with Russia, according to a report titled “From Russia With Money” by the Government Accountability Institute.
The Podesta Group became a target of Mueller’s probe after investigators discovered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with the firm on a pro-Ukrainian lobbying effort. Mueller is looking into possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act by the Podesta Group, according to NBC News.
A spokesman for the Podesta Group said in a statement the firm “is cooperating fully with the Special Counsel’s office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times – and we did so in this case.”
NBC News reported Monday that Mueller’s team is examining allegations that Manafort and the Podesta Group failed to disclose their relationship with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, or ECMU, a nonprofit public relations campaign to promote Ukraine’s image in the West in an effort to enter the EU. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires disclosure of any work with a foreign government.
The ECMU was backed by the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian and oligarch-funded Ukrainian political party that paid millions to Manafort and his firm for consulting, NBC reported. FBI agents raided Manafort’s home in July as part of Mueller’s probe.
The Hill reported last Tuesday that before a government panel in which Hillary Clinton was a member approved the Uranium One sale, the FBI was sitting on evidence Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to expand Moscow’s nuclear business in the U.S.
The Times 2016 investigation found Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Others with ties to Uranium One also made donations. The Clintons, however, did not publicly disclose the contributions, the Times said, despite an agreement Hillary Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. In addition, Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian bank tied to the Kremlin in 2010, when Hillary Clinton opposed sanctions on Moscow. She reversed her position the following year.
The Daily Caller said senior executives of Joule, the company for which John Podesta served as a board member, admitted “new investor prospects” walked way after Clinton lost the election in November.
Dmitry Akhanov, the president and CEO of the Kremlin-owned venture capital firm Rusnano USA Inc., oversaw the Russian government’s investment in Joule.
He agreed that Clinton’s loss doomed the company.
“We lined up investors who were willing to buy the bonds, but after the elections, with some statements from the new administration regarding potential uncertainty, the future support of biofuels was stopped,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The company was not able to do the deal and it was one of the reasons why the company was closed.”
Akhanov said his company, which is nicknamed “Putin’s child,” lost $35 million when Joule closed its doors.