Tony Podesta, brother of former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, has threatened to sue Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s reporting on his Washington lobbying firm, the Podesta Group.
In a segment on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday night, Carlson stated that he had received a “snarling legal threat” from Podesta’s lawyer after reporting last week that Podesta, his brother, and Paul Manafort were the “central figures” in the federal investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Tony Podesta resigned from the Podesta Group — a firm he co-founded with John Podesta — on Monday.
Carlson first reported last Tuesday that Manafort’s sham company, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, was a major client of the Podesta group.
A source who had formerly worked for the Podesta Group told Carlson that Manafort’s role as a liaison between Russia and the Podesta Group had become the focus of the investigation. According to the source, Manafort was in frequent contact with the Podesta Group while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
Manafort, of course, was indicted on Monday by Mueller’s team on charges dating back to his work for Ukraine.
“Today’s indictment confirms our reporting on this,” Carlson said, explaining that the Mueller investigation is no longer primarily about Russian collusion in the 2016 race. “It is now a much far-reaching inquiry into corrupt lobbying practices across D.C. — one that is very likely to ensnare figures close to Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Carlson noted that the Podesta Group was well aware that the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was a sham company representing pro-Russian interests and pointed out that the firm did not register as such until Spring 2017, after media outlets began reporting that Manafort’s offshore bank accounts were under investigation.
The Fox News host revealed that he received a letter today from Geoff Garinther, a lawyer with Venable LLP, a major Washington, D.C., law firm.
“The letter demands that this show ‘immediately cease and desist disseminating false and misleading reports about Mr. Podesta and the Podesta Group,'” Carlson said. “It demands we retract and delete all our prior reporting on the Podesta Group and warns that if we don’t do this ‘Mr. Podesta may pursue legal action, including for damages, in order to fully protect his rights.'”
He added that Garinther warned Fox News in the letter that they would “‘face legal action under the Copyright Act merely for quoting from this letter publicly’ — as we just did.”
Carlson said the most amusing line in the letter is Garinther’s claim that “Manafort did not work with the Podesta Group in its representation of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.”
“Apparently that lawyer hasn’t read the Manafort indictment yet,” Carlson said.
He argued that Garinther threatened his show in an effort to shut down his reporting on the Podesta Group — a tactic they’ve used before.
“It’s an effort to use fear to control press coverage,” Carlson said. “We’re not intimidated. We have ample evidence from Mueller’s indictment, from a number of confidential sources, to paint a pretty clear picture of exactly what the Podesta Group was doing for years here in Washington.”
Carlson declared that he’s “confident the Mueller investigation will be revealing a lot more about Tony Podesta’s lobbying practices in the near future.”
He concluded: “If you’re looking for a summary of all this, here’s the one-sentence Cliff Note to the whole affair: The chairman of one major presidential campaign colluded with the brother of the chairman of the other major presidential campaign to enrich themselves by secretly advancing the interests of a foreign adversary. That happened. That’s the swamp they told you needed to be drained.”