WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta has announced the departure from his lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, according to Politico, citing multiple sources.
All operational and financial control of the lobbying firm will reportedly go to its CEO Kimberley Fritts, who will launch a new firm this week together with senior executives of the Podesta Group.
Podesta's move comes a week after US media reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has shifted the focus of the ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election to Tony Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm. According to NBC sources, the inquiry grew out of Mueller's examination of the finances of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources.
Manafort had reportedly organized a public relations campaign for the non-profit organization European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), to promote Ukraine's image in the West. Podesta's company was allegedly engaged in the campaign.
Podesta will reportedly start a new firm in the coming days.
Earlier on Monday, the former chairman of US President Donald Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and his deputy Richard Gates were indicted on 12 charges, including "conspiracy against the United States," acting as unregistered foreign agents, and money laundering.
While US President Donald Trump has already commented on the first charges by saying that Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty later in the day, was accused with regard to dealings he had made prior to becoming part of his election team, the White House press secretary has voiced the US administration's intention to further cooperate with the Mueller probe.
Mueller has been probing Manafort’s financial dealings as part of a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race, a claim refuted by Moscow as groundless and dubbed a "witch hunt" by the US president.