Chinese tech giant Huawei paid Democratic lobbyist and donor Tony Podesta $500,000 to lobby the White House during the third quarter - the same period in which the Biden DOJ struck a deal to allow Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to return home from Canada, where she was awaiting extradition to face criminal charges in the US.
Whether Podesta spirit-cooked up Wanzhou's release is unknown, however the White House says they had nothing to do with it - and that the company is still subject to trade restrictions.
"This was a law enforcement matter that was entirely in the Justice Department’s hands – not a policy matter," a White House official told CNBC. "As the Justice Department has said, they ‘reached the decision to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with Ms. Meng independently, based on the facts and the law, and an assessment of litigation risk."
"President Biden and this administration believe digital infrastructure equipment made by untrustworthy vendors, like Huawei, pose a threat to the security of the U.S., our allies, and our partners. Export controls against Huawei remain in place," the official continued, adding. "We are engaging with all of our partners and allies on the risks posed by Huawei and dozens of countries and carriers have made the decision to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks. And we expect this trend to continue."
According to the report, Podesta registered to lobby for Huawei in July - his first official return to lobbying after his firm's 2017 collapse under heavy scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russiagate probe.
Podesta, according to the third quarter disclosure, targeted only the White House Office for Huawei last quarter. The disclosure form says it was for “issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues.” The White House Office is run by the president’s chief of staff, who, in this case, is Ron Klain, another veteran Democratic power player.
For years, Huawei has sought to curry favor with American officials as it faces accusations that it is a threat to American national security. China’s government is known to exert a great deal of influence over the nation’s companies, although Huawei has denied that it would give data to Beijing. -CNBC
Podesta's now-defunct lobbying firm earned hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for Russian-owned mining company Uranium One during the same period that the Clinton Foundation was receiving millions from individuals connected to the U1 transaction.
The Podesta Group ended 2015 as Washington DC's third-largest lobbying firm - with nearly $30 million in revenue from over 100 clients. After a string of embarrassing news reports, including a failure to improperly report a $300,000 shipping expense for Tony's art collection, employees set up a system to prevent Mr. Podesta from being reimbursed by the company for personal expenditures, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In 2016, SunTrust bank severed ties with the Podesta Group when they discovered that they were doing work for a U.S. subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian bank - presumably Russias Kremlin-owned Sberbank, which paid the Podesta group $170,000 over a 6 month period through September 2016 to lobby against 2014 economic sanctions by the Obama administration.
Then, during the Russiagate investigation, Podesta clients became spooked as Special Counsel Robert Mueller began closing in on associate Paul Manafort. The Podesta Group decided (coincidentally) to retroactively file as a foreign agent for their work with the Manafort's Pro-Russia Centre for a Modern Ukraine campaign tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, shortly before Manafort's indictment. The Podesta Group made $1.2 million as part of that effort.
With the Manafort probe red-hot, the unraveling of the Podesta Group was swift. With clients such as Wells Fargo, Wal Mart and Oracle Corp. bailing on Tony, the lobbying firm death-spiraled into default - as Tony refused to pledge his giant art collection against firm obligations.
That said, like a cat with nine-lives, Tony Podesta has risen from radioactive recluse to DC power broker once again,. now that his old friends from the Democratic party running the show.