Investigators focusing on foreign lobbying by firms linked to Manafort: report

Source: The Hill | December 5, 2018 | Michael Burke

Prosecutors with the Justice Department (DOJ) are ramping up their investigation into the foreign lobbying of two firms linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. 

The prosecutors have been interviewing witnesses about the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs over the past several weeks, the AP reported, citing individuals familiar with the investigation.

The investigation stems from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller handed it off to prosecutors in Manhattan because the issue fell outside the scope of his own probe, according to the AP.

The Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs are believed to be “Company A” and “Company B” as referenced a grand jury indictment against Manafort and his deputy associate Rick Gates last year. 

The firms have come under scrutiny for their work to benefit a pro-Russia party in Ukraine. They were accused in the grand jury indictment of being paid millions through offshore bank accounts set up by Manafort and Gates.

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