Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported Tuesday night explosive details about the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the United States, which may be putting the Podesta Group in Mueller’s “crosshairs.”
Carlson said in his opening segment that, according to a source Mueller is looking into the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm with close ties to Hillary Clinton, over spreading Russian influence in the United States during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Carlson said, “The central effort to extend Russian influence was focused on the executive branch, the Obama administration. The vehicle through which [Paul] Manafort worked for the Russians was a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The group was supposedly based in Belgium but had no offices there. It had only two employees, both based in Ukraine.
“Their telephone number in Brussels rang in Kiev. It was a sham, yet it had a presence in Washington. The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was a major client of the Podesta Group. Why did the Russians choose the Podesta Group? Because both Podestas were close to the Clintons, and Hillary was then Secretary of State. She could get things done for the Podestas’ Russian clients. It was influence peddling, the most obvious kind,” he continued.
The Podesta Group has close ties with Hillary Clinton.
Carlson said of the ties, “Sometimes, our source told us, ties between the Podesta Group and the Clintons were explicit. Tony Podesta spoke regularly to Hillary Clinton while she ran the State Department. Our source remembers Podesta’s assistant announcing that Secretary Clinton is on the line.'”
The Daily Caller co-founder added, “At one point, in either 2013 or early 2014, our source says a meeting was held that included both Tony Podesta and a representative of the Clinton Foundation. The explicit subject of that meeting: How to assist Uranium One, the Russian-owned company which controls 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity, and whose board members gave more than $100 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. As our source put it, ‘Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.'”
According to Carlson, Manafort was in on the scheme.
“According to our source, Manafort was clear that Russia wanted to cultivate ties to Hillary Clinton, in the belief she was likely to become president,” he said during the segment. “These links to Hillary were apparently valuable; our source believes that the Russian money Manafort funneled to the Podesta Group greatly exceeds the roughly $1 million they were officially paid. Some of these payments, he said, could be hidden kickbacks that would be hard to trace. He described the Podesta Group’s books as a ‘treasure trove’ and highly secret. He told us the Podesta Group had no board, and all financial decisions were personally made by Tony Podesta. The Group’s employees, he said, included a person whose only official job was managing Tony Podesta’s art collection. It would be easy for such an organization to conceal financial transactions.”
“The source we spoke to has been interviewed extensively by Robert Mueller’s independent investigation. In press accounts, Mueller’s investigation is still framed as a hunt for collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia,” the Fox host said.
“Our source says investigators are very interested in Manafort’s behavior while he ran the Trump campaign, but otherwise that description is mostly bogus. The investigation has broadened to determine which people and organizations in Washington have spent years working secretly as de facto operatives on behalf of the Russia government. The Podesta Group is chief among these de facto foreign operatives. ‘They’re are more focused on facilitators of Russian influence in this country, not election collusion,’ our source said. The Podesta Group is ‘in their crosshairs.'”