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Mueller Opens Criminal Investigation Into Clinton Fundraiser Tony Podesta in Russia Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has broadened his investigation, originally focused on Donald Trump's ties with Russia, to a major Hillary Clinton bundler who worked for Ukraine's Party of Regions, a political group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also worked for this party.

Recent reports have implicated Mueller in an alleged FBI cover-up. The FBI had been investigating the Russian firm Rosatom for years before the Obama administration approved its acquisition of 20 percent of U.S. uranium in the Uranium One deal. The FBI kept the investigation secret, even when it could have prevented such a monumental purchase.

At the same time, Hillary Clinton (who was on the very board which approved the Uranium One deal) stood to benefit from the deal, as a Russian bank promoting Uranium One stock had paid her husband half a million for a speech (and directed millions to Clinton Foundation-linked companies). At the same time, the FBI acted quickly to bust a Russian spy ring because it got too close to Clinton.

Mueller — who as head of the FBI seems likely to have known about the Rosatom investigation and covered it up, just as the FBI switched into overdrive to protect Hillary Clinton — has broadened his investigation of Trump-Russia into a line of questioning that might finally implicate the other side of the 2016 election, Clinton herself.

On Monday, NBC News reported that Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of Mueller's federal investigation. NBC News cited three unnamed sources, who may have leaked the information on Mueller's orders — in order to suggest impartiality after these recent stories implicated Mueller.

The Podesta probe grew out of Mueller's inquiry into Manafort's finances, NBC News reported. Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for the non-profit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). The Podesta Group also worked on that campaign.

According to NBC News' sources, the Podesta investigation began as a fact-finding mission about Manafort's role in the ECMU, but later broadened into a criminal inquiry into whether or not the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). [An allegation PJ Media reported last April.] That act requires those who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders, or political parties to file disclosures about spending and activities with the Justice Department.

The Podesta Group filed a FARA registration for ECMU work only after the payments were reported by the media. Manafort's firm did the same.

The ECMU was reportedly backed by the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian party of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych has been referred to as Putin's puppet in Ukraine, and his party was funded by Russian oligarchs. He was president of Ukraine during the ECMU campaign between 2012 and 2014.