Report: Mueller Offers Tony Podesta Immunity to Testify Against Paul Manafort
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has offered Clinton crony and fundraiser Tony Podesta immunity to testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported Thursday night based on two sources.
Podesta, whose brother is Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is the founder of the now-defunct Podesta Group, a Democratic lobbying group that worked with Manafort’s consulting firm in 2012 on a sham campaign called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which supported then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort's lobbying work for Ukraine reportedly ended two years before he joined the Trump campaign.
Neither Manafort nor Podesta properly registered with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) in 2012, and both retroactively registered their firms with the Department of Justice as foreign agents of Ukraine in 2017.
"Manafort got in big trouble for that," Tucker noted. "He's now being held in solitary confinement and he's looking at a life sentence behind bars." Tony Podesta resigned from the Podesta Group in October, and the firm was reportedly shuttered by the end of the year.
In addition to the FARA violation, Manafort was indicted on numerous counts of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States, false and misleading FARA statements and other charges.
If he wanted, Mueller could probably bring as many charges or more against Podesta. But the special counsel is only interested in prosecuting one of them.
“Tonight we can report exclusively based on two separate sources we spoke to today that Tony Podesta has been offered immunity by Robert Mueller to testify against Paul Manafort,” Carlson reported. “In other words, for a near identical crime, Bill and Hillary’s friend could skate and emerge completely unscathed while Paul Manafort may rot in jail,” he added. "Only one of them made the mistake of chairing Donald Trump's presidential campaign."
Manafort was in frequent contact with the Podesta Group while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State, according to the source. He brought a "parade of Russian oligarchs up to the Congress where they met with members and their staffs."
Mueller is offering "use immunity," which is a limited type of immunity to five potential witnesses in Manafort's upcoming trial, the Washington Examiner reported. None of the five have been charged or identified publicly, prosecutors for Mueller’s team told the Examiner.
Carlson broke the story last October of Podesta’s work with Manafort on Russia's behalf.
His source said most reporters were not only "getting it wrong -- they were getting it backward."
While media has portrayed former "Black, Manafort & Stone" principal Paul Manafort as a central figure in the Trump/Russia collusion narrative, the source said it was Manafort's role as a liaison between Russia and the Podesta Group that has become the focus of the investigation.
The source told Carlson that Manafort for years was "representing Russian business and political interests who sought to influence Capitol Hill, Hillary Clinton's State Department, and the Obama administration."
Manafort was in frequent contact with the Podesta Group while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, according to the source. He brought a "parade of Russian oligarchs up to the Congress where they met with members and their staffs."
The vehicle through which Manafort worked for the Russians was what Carlson called a shell company with a headquarters listed in Belgium but whose contact information was linked to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Manafort's sham company, "the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, was a major client of the Podesta group," said Carlson.
Podesta sent Carlson a "cease-and-desist" letter following his report, which Carlson ignored.
In his report Thursday night, Carson pointed out that only seven people have been prosecuted for FARA violations in 50 years. "And yet in recent months -- three people have been charged under FARA. What do they have in common? You guessed it -- some connection to Donald Trump," he said.
"Federal laws ought to be enforced," he added. "Unlike the left, we actually believe that. But they must be enforced equally or they're not laws at all -- they're political cudgels and tools of social control. They become illegitimate and scary. And this case ought to make you nervous."