Ex-Obama aide Greg Craig charged in Mueller-related investigation

Sergio Conner
April 14, 2019

Like numerous charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the charges stem from Craig's alleged failure to fully cooperate with the Russian Federation probe.

Craig, who is set to appear in federal court Friday, is a prominent Washington attorney and was the first White House counsel to former President Barack Obama.

"President Obama's top White House lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, was indicted yesterday on very serious charges", Mr Trump tweeted, going on to dub the story "really big" and knock "the Fake News New York Times" over not putting it on the front page, but "rather page 16".

FARA is a decades-old law meant to allow Americans to know when foreign entities are trying to influence public opinion or policymakers.

Craig's indictment is part of a Justice Department crackdown on unregistered foreign lobbying and consulting. Charges were filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington. The charge pertains to the legal services Craig performed on behalf of the Ukrainian government in 2012, two years after he left the White House.

Greg Craig indicted over Ukrainian government connections; Mike Emanuel has the details. Tony Podesta also declined to comment.

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Notably, the law was cited in indictments of former chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of engaging in a secretive lobbying operation for Kremlin-backed Ukrainian president back in 2012, and former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who admitted to a foreign lobbying violation when he pleaded guilty to making false statements.

Other lobbyists have rushed to comply with the law.

When the Justice Department determined that Craig should register under the law, the indictment says, Craig resisted the idea.

Skadden settled with the Justice Department early this year for its role in the Ukraine work, and Manafort admitted to orchestrating the report's release as part of his guilty plea. But he did not register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for the government of Ukraine. Tymoshenko was a political opponent of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was a longtime Manafort patron. Those revelations prompted Podesta to step down in October 2017 from his Podesta Associates lobbying firm, which collapsed shortly after.

"The government's stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion", the attorneys said in a statement to USA media.

The firm allegedly was involved in crafting a report that sought to validate Yanukovich's decision to have the government prosecute and subsequently imprison former prime minister and rival Yulia Tymoshenko.

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