Yesterday, it was announced that the Robert Mueller investigation had filed a request to provide immunity to five secret witnesses who would testify against Paul Manafort. However, he also filed with the court to seal the identities of those five witnesses, claiming that revealing who they were would expose them to “undue harassment.”
However, reports this morning suggest that at least two of the individuals he’s hoping to provide with immunity have been identified. According to multiple accounts, at two of them are the Podesta brothers, close friends and campaign strategists for Hillary Clinton. Last year, congress wanted to investigate the Podestas’ Russian ties, and in fact, these men have done the exact same thing Manafort is accused of… the only difference is being a democrat buddy of the Clintons.
While there has not been (and likely won’t be) confirmation for at least another week, it would make sense that at least Tony Podesta, the younger of the two, had been offered immunity in order to testify.
After all, the Podesta Group is tied into the events surrounding Paul Manafort’s indictments.
Manafort is not being indicted for conduct related to Russian collusion, or his time on the Donald Trump campaign.
The crimes that the Mueller special investigation has doggedly investigated and prosecuted him for are related to his time acting as a lobbyist for a former presidential candidate (and later president) of Ukraine.
Manafort was lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych, and the Podesta Group, which ceased operation in late 2017 after Tony Podesta left. He was afraid that group was under increased congressional scrutiny.
Just like the accused, the Podesta Group never registered as a lobbyist for a foreign power.
Furthermore, Mueller was obviously aware of all this. After all, he had subpoenaed the firm, as well as its employees, for information related to their work, and had even interviewed ‘roughly’ half a dozen people concerning Tony Podesta’s involvement.
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, is currently under indictment concerning his time acting as an unregistered lobbyist on behalf of Yanukovych, as well as for allegedly attempting to hide the money he was paid from the Internal Revenue Service.
Of course, if Tony Podesta, who ran the Podesta Group until 2017, were to receive immunity, it would make sense. After all, he worked alongside Manafort, and broke some of the same laws in service of a foreign power.
However, it would be interesting to see John Podesta also provided immunity. Allegedly, he left the company more than two decades ago, in 1993, so, theoretically, he would have very little knowledge of what went on there.
Does the Mueller investigation have evidence to the contrary? Or, do they have evidence that John Podesta, who managed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and is currently a columnist for the Washington Post, committed some other crime(s)?
Could the immunity for John Podesta in particular be related to his time on the board of an energy ‘group’ connected to the Russian government? Perhaps such immunity could even be designed to help the elder Podesta, a long-time Clinton confidant, avoid having to answer to any investigation of his relationship to Russian government entities.
By strange coincidence, Texas republican Representative Louie Gohmert called for an investigation into that relationship a year ago. Gee, immunity from conduct related to such a relationship sure would be great for the senior Podesta, even if he didn’t have much (or anything) to offer the Mueller special investigation.
According to the filing that the Special Counsel’s Office, headed by Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissman, released, they are hoping that the court will compel the five unnamed individuals to testify against the accused.
The filing also suggests that the Mueller investigators are not sure that they will call ANY of the witnesses, which they use as another good reason that the list of names should be kept secret.
If the special investigation is willing to let Tony Podesta off the hook for committing the same crimes, or at least one of the same crimes, that he’s accused Manafort of, it doesn’t speak well of the investigation, or of the team prosecuting the former Trump campaign manager.
The way that the special investigation and its members are going about providing immunity to people seems strange, especially given that in some cases, they could be giving immunity to people accused of the same thing that the person they’re testifying against was.
Paul Manafort is facing charges related to unregistered lobbying for a foreign power, the same thing that it seems Tony Podesta did. It’s strange that the prosecution would ask the federal government to grant one person immunity to testify the other, when they were involved in the same illegal conduct, and even representing the same person.
It’s also strange that the Mueller investigation would go to such extremes in order to target someone for conduct not related to their stated mission, which is to find evidence of collusion between the Donald J. Trump campaign and the Russian government or people acting on its behalf.
The longer the investigation goes on, the stranger it becomes. What will next week reveal about the case?