After former special counsel Robert Mueller’s collusion attorneys recommended this week that former Trump campaign official Roger Stone spend nearly a decade in prison for process crimes committed during an allegedly illegitimate investigation, President Donald Trump embarked on a Twitter tear against those whom he believes are the real criminals.
One of the targets of the president’s rage was Tony Podesta, the brother of failed 2016 Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Whatever happened to Hillary campaign manager Podesta’s BROTHER? Wasn’t he caught, forced to leave his firm, with BIG BAD things to happen? Why did nothing ever happen to him, only to the “other” side?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
Thirty-two years ago in 1988, Podesta and his brother, John, formed the Podesta Group lobbying firm. Over time the firm became one of the most influential groups operating out of Washington, D.C.
Five years later in 1993, his brother left the firm to serve as then-President Bill Clinton’s staff secretary.
In the decades that followed, Podesta reportedly accrued a giant list of powerful clients, including the Russians.
“[T]he Podesta Group … lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank,” Forbes reported in 2017. “‘Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,’ explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official.”
“According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was ‘among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich [SIC].’ Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.”
Yanukovych was prematurely removed from office in 2014 and fled to Russia in exile. To this day he reportedly remains wanted by Ukraine for high treason.
Forbes’ report dropped the same year that, one, Podesta reportedly came under scrutiny by Mueller for failing to disclose his political work for shady actors like Yanukovych, and two, Podesta subsequently announced his departure from the Podesta Group.
The president responded to the news at the time with the following tweets:
….and why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Podesta was also found to have ties to former lobbyist Paul Manafort, who was later convicted of tax and bank fraud in 2018 and sentenced to prison time a year later.
“Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West from 2012 to 2014. Podesta’s Democratic-leaning lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, was one of many firms that worked on the campaign,” NBC News notes.
Yet instead of digging deeper into Podesta’s activities, the special counselor chose to refer the case to federal prosecutors in New York.
“Since the spring, Mueller has referred matters to SDNY involving longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his work for his former firm, the Podesta Group,” CNN confirmed in the fall of 2018.
Given what was happening to Manafort at the time, anger began to brew over what some felt was a two-tiered justice system.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) December 19, 2018
Manafort is going to jail for his unregistered Ukraine work
Tony Podesta was Manafort’s partner on the contract and was not even indicted
We all can see what’s going on here
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 13, 2019
Democrats have it good.
Tony Podesta did everything Manafort was accused of doing, and more than Flynn was accused of.
Always remember this, there is no rule of law in the U.S.https://t.co/7XJTDs0ymh
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 19, 2019
What if Manafort hadn’t worked on @RealDonaldTrump campaig? He’d be just like Clinton crony Tony Podesta–free! @JudicialWatch found docs showing Podesta Group worked Clinton State Dept on Ukraine issue Manafort targeted over! https://t.co/JkPwEzQuav pic.twitter.com/Zh4ZJdJxkz
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 1, 2018
Podesta subsequently disappeared from the limelight, though independent groups like conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch continued their own investigations into his activities.
“Judicial Watch today released new documents from the U.S. Department of State showing the Podesta Group working on behalf of the pro-Russia Ukrainian political group ‘Party of Regions.’ The new documents also show longtime Obama and Clinton counselor John Podesta lobbying on behalf of his brother’s firm,” the group reported in May of 2018.
The following year, left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald remarked on the inexplicable way in which Podesta had been allowed to disappear, despite having committed the same crimes as Manafort.
I’m still somewhat mystified about how Tony Podesta – intimately involved in many of Paul Manafort’s slimiest and most unscrupulous practices (because K Street sleaze is 100% bipartisan) – has just vanished from the news cycle and, apparently, legal jeopardy. #MissingTonyPodesta
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 4, 2019
Podesta finally reappeared in the limelight last September when the Department of Justice reportedly concluded its probe of him.
“Federal prosecutors have ended an investigation into Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta … in a case connected to lobbying for Ukraine and Paul Manafort without filing criminal charges,” NBC News reported at the time.
So to answer the president’s question, what happened to Podesta was that he was let off scot-free, despite there being pages upon pages of evidence linking him to alleged crimes no different than those that Manafort is serving time in prison for at the moment …
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