Following a lengthy jury deliberation, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts, including tax fraud, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud – even though jurors were still hung on another ten counts:
“If we cannot come to a consensus for a single count, how can we fill in the verdict sheet?” the jurors asked in the note.
“It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so,” said Ellis, who encouraged each juror to make their own decisions on each count. If some were in the minority on a decision, however, they could think about the other jurors’ conclusions.
Notably, the case has nothing to do with “Trump, the Trump campaign or the 2016 US election” – it has to do with work Manafort did with former Ukranian President Victor Yanukovych from 2005-2014. The case was referred to the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) by Special Investigator Robert Mueller… who also referred Democrat superlobbyist Tony Podesta for prosecution as part of similar work he did for Yanukovych.
All of this begs the question – if Tony Podesta committed the same crimes as Paul Manafort, why hasn’t the SDNY brought charges against him?
Last year, Tucker Carlson exposed just how close Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group were to the Ukranian and Russian governments...
"Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation," Podesta Group may be concealing financial transactions through art collection. pic.twitter.com/yyyo57THMJ— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) October 25, 2017
Lobbyist and temporary Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is at the center of the Russia probe – however the scope of the investigation has broadened to include his activities prior to the 2016 election.
Manafort worked with the Podesta Group since at least 2011 on behalf of Russian interests, and was at the Podesta Group offices “all the time, at least once a month,” peddling Russian influence through a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).
Manafort brought a “parade” of Russian oligarchs to congress for meetings with members and their staffs, however, the Russia’s “central effort” was the Obama Administration.
In 2013, John Podesta recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
In late 2013 or early 2014, Tony Podesta and a representative for the Clinton Foundation met to discuss how to help Uranium One – the Russian owned company that controls 20 percent of American Uranium Production – and whose board members gave over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.
“Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.”
Believing she would win the 2016 election, Russia considered the Podesta Group’s connection to Hillary highly valuable.
Podesta Group is a nebulous organization with no board oversight and all financial decisions made by Tony Podesta. Carlson’s source said payments and kickbacks could be hard for investigators to trace, describing it as a “highly secret treasure trove.” One employee’s only official job was to manage Tony Podesta’s art collection, which could be used to conceal financial transactions.
Additionally, Zerohedge explained why this list is so significant:
…emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine’s foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits.
And this is where the plot thickens, because while the bulk of the press has so far spun the entire Ukraine lobbying scandal, which led to Manafort’s resignation, as the latest “proof” that pro-Moscow powers were influencing not only Manafort but the Trump campaign in general (who some democrats have even painted of being a Putin agent), the reality is that a firm closely tied with the Democratic party, the Podesta Group, is just as implicated.
As AP further adds, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-linked nonprofit entity which allegely ran the lobbying project, paid Mercury and the Podesta Group a combined $2.2 million over roughly two years. In papers filed in the U.S. Senate, Mercury and the Podesta Group listed the European nonprofit as an independent, nonpolitical client. The firms said the center stated in writing that it was not aligned with any foreign political entity.
In other words, the Podesta Group was likely as much or even more complicit in any wrongdoing than Manafort was. Of course, none of this stopped Mueller from offering Podesta immunity – in exchange for testimony against Manafort:
BREAKING : Tucker Carlson announced that Robert Mueller offered Tony Podesta immunity to testify against Paul Manafort. pic.twitter.com/zNivVmqumN— Mike (@Fuctupmind) July 20, 2018
It is not as though Manafort is blameless or guilt-free in his conduct – and according to Corey Lewandowski, President Trump himself was not particularly fond of some of his conduct on the campaign trail, at one point lowering his helicopter to berate him via cell phone:
While were in the air, heading for Delaware, somebody—I think it was Ann Coulter—tweeted out a quote from Manafort saying that Trump shouldn’t be on television anymore, that he shouldn’t do the Sunday shows. And from now on Manafort would do all shows. Because he’s the fucking expert, right? Not Trump, who had already turned the whole primary race on its head…
“Yes, sir,” Hope said, “Paul said he doesn’t want you on TV.”
Trump went fucking ballistic. We were still over the New York metropolitan area, where you can get cell service if you fly at a low altitude.
“Lower it!” Trump yelled to the pilot. “I have to make a call.”
He got Manafort on the phone, “Did you say I shouldn’t be on TV on Sunday??” Manafort could barely hear him because of the helicopter motor. But Trump said, “I’ll go on TV anytime I goddamn fucking want and you won’t say another fucking word about me! Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! I don’t wanna tone anything down! I played along with your delegate charts, but I have had enough.”
He got Paul on the phone and completely decimated him again verbally. Ripped his fucking head off. I wish I’d recorded it, because it was one of the greatest takedowns in the history of the world.
“You’re a political pro? Let me tell you something. I’m a pro at life. I’ve been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and your skin…”
…and again, according to Lewandowski, Trump was unaware of Manafort’s connections when he took the job, but was seriously unhappy about them after they were released to the press:
“It’s all lies,” Manafort said. “My lawyers are fighting it.”
“But if it’s in the paper someone has to give Trump a heads-up, because if it’s in the paper, it’s reality.”
Just as Steve had thought, the story ran the next day, August 15, on Page One, above the fold.
“I’ve got a crook running my campaign,” Trump said when he read it.
However, in spite of his apparent misgivings for Manafort, Trump has decided to support him – ostensibly because he did not cave to the outrageous demands of the Mueller “investigation“:
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
So what is the SDNY doing, if they’re not prosecuting Podesta? Simple – they’re using Cohen’s words to launch a new investigation:
New York investigators have subpoenaed Michael Cohen as part of a probe into the Trump Foundation -AP— Jeff Lewis (@ChicagoPhotoSho) August 22, 2018
Trump of course understands why the Podesta Group investigation has been effectively ignored...
....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
...the Podesta brothers are both well-connected swamp creatures, on the same political team as the uber-politicized SDNY assigned to levy charges against them.