techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com April 21, 2019


Lobbying probes persist though Mueller investigation over

14 April 2019, 09:29 | Glen Norman

Greg Craig pleads not guilty, released on personal recognizance

A former White House Counsel under President Barack Obama Greg Craig leaves the U.S. District Court in Washington U.S

The investigation into Craig comes as the Justice Department is cracking down on unregistered foreign lobbying and consulting.

Craig however is fighting the charges.

Craig is a prominent Washington attorney and was the first White House counsel to former President Barack Obama.

The Justice Department said the charges stem from interviews Craig took part in with Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. A spokesman for the USA attorney's office declined to comment.

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Craig allegedly lied to the special counsel's team during an interview a year ago about legal work that he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 after leaving the White House to join Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a New York-based law firm.

His attorneys had called the case a "a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion" and said the Justice Department's national security division pushed to indict Craig despite federal prosecutors in NY declining to bring charges, an assertion that couldn't immediately be verified.

On the same day Sam Patten, another Manafort-linked lobbyist, was sentenced to probation in court, the Craig arraignment highlights a recent push by the Justice Department to root out illegal lobbying.

Mr Craig has not been charged with violating foreign lobbying laws, only for making false and misleading statements, according to the indictment. Craig is the only Democrat caught up in the Mueller investigation, and he was charged with concealing work he'd done for Ukraine. In private practice, his clients have included former North Carolina Sen.

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As you may recall, Paul Manafort engaged Skadden Arps on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and the firm wrote a report justifying the prosecution of former Russian-aligned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's political rivals.

"Hiding the truth of who one represents from policymakers undermines our political discourse and diminishes the quality of our policymaking because people need the facts for democracy to work", Berman Jackson said. "Without that, it does raise questions over whether the prosecution is political or not".

Craig's lawyers have denied that he lied to the government or his firm. The law firm that he is associated with paid a fine of $4.6 million dollars, which was essentially what they got paid for the report.

Greg Craig was indicted on Thursday for making false claims and withholding information in a federal foreign lobbying inquiry, which coincided in time with Special Counsel Mueller's report. Mueller had referred the case to the Southern District of NY, but that office has not brought these charges.

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