An exclusive report published Friday by the New York Times tells a tale of two brothers whose influence in Washington has had a major impact on the Democratic Party, and who have both become embedded in the “Russian collusion” scandal, howbeit on somewhat opposite sides of the fence.
John Podesta, 68, who served as the chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, has told congressional investigators that he had no idea the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the infamous “Trump dossier,” but he reportedly met with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, soon after the dossier was published, according to the New York Times.
Last month it was revealed that Perkins Coie, the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to investigate GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Perkins Coie reportedly paid Fusion GPS over $1 million to come up with their opposition research on Trump. In turn, Fusion paid former British spy Christopher Steel $168,000 to create the document, which was full of salacious, unfounded claims about Trump.
The New York Times reported Friday that Podesta actually met with Simpson, of Fusion GPS, after the dossier was published, “to compare notes on Russia’s involvement.”
John Podesta, who previously served as Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton, and as a counselor to former President Barack Obama, is believed to have been in line to serve as Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff if she had won the presidency.
He has now “dedicated his time since the election to trying to expose the connections between Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia,” the Times reported. His personal Gmail account was hacked during the 2016 campaign season, and emails leaked to the public by WikiLeaks revealed condemning rifts and corruption within the campaign and the DNC.
John Podesta’s older brother, Tony Podesta, 74, has also played a major role in Democratic politics, building one of highest-grossing lobbying firms in Washington, and raised nearly $900,000 for Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Party in 2016.
In 1987, the two brothers joined together to create the lobbying and public relations firm called Podesta Associates, also known as the Podesta Group, but John pulled out of the firm when Bill Clinton became president.
The Podesta Group rose to over $29 million in revenues by President Obama’s second year in office, “buoyed in part by the perception of access to the new administration,” the Times reported.
Now Tony Podesta has become embroiled in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, as the Podesta Group has been tied to Russian interests and also to Paul Manafort, who arranged lobbying for a former president of Ukraine.
Tony Podesta recently announced he would be stepping down from the Podesta Group, and Friday it was announced that his successor, CEO Kimberley Fritts, also has left the firm to start her own lobbying group instead.
The New York Times reported that Podesta Group employees were informed in a meeting on Thursday that they may stop receiving paychecks after next week, in a strong indication that the Podesta Group multi-million-dollar lobbying empire is truly crumbling.