Mueller forced to investigate Tony Podesta
NBC News, the friendliest MSM friend of the Resist crowd, was the chosen vehicle for leaking the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the Podesta Group and its principal, Tony Podesta. Although I am no lawyer, it is pretty clear that Mueller had no choice but to move against John Podesta's brother and is using the situation to his best advantage.
Mueller's mission was to get something – anything! – on Paul Manafort. The strategic goal was to trade cooperation in nailing Trump for something – anything! – for leniency on the charge they prove against Manafort.
The "anything" Mueller came up with was registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). I remember seeing a nonprofit caught up in violations and let off with no jail for taking funding from non-government agencies that the feds claimed were acting as cat's paws for a foreign government. But it can be a felony and carry five years in the federal pen. The only problem was that the vehicle they found to pursue Manafort unfortunately also implicated Podesta.
Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley of NBC News:
The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta's company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.
If they are going to credibly threaten Manafort with prison, they have to go after Podesta, too. It is not merely a comparable offense, but the same evidence and the same alleged crime.
A this plays out, the left will spin the inclusion of Podesta as evidence of Mueller's integrity and fairness. But he's got a lot to answer for about covering up Uranium One when he was director of the FBI, so there are issues far larger than this.
Mueller will push forward in the hope of breaking Manafort, or at least getting one scalp to claim for his long, expensive witch hunt. The media will portray him positively and ignore the Uranium One story.
Meanwhile, it's a tough break for Tony.
Tony knows a lot about a lot of people and thus has a lot of chits to call in for help. This could get quite interesting.