Report: Former Obama lawyer charged in illegal lobbying scheme

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort over illegal lobbying on behalf of the Ukraine government, the names of a few prominent Democrats involved in the scheme began to surface.

One of those Democrats, former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig, has now been indicted on federal charges of “making false and misleading statements to investigators in connection with his work on behalf of Ukraine,” according to Fox News.

Lies, lies, lies

The New York Times reported that, after leaving the Obama administration, Craig joined the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The firm was hired by the Ukrainian Justice Ministry — at the behest of Manafort — to conduct a review of the prosecution of a political rival by the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, who had ties to Russia.

Craig wrote a highly contested and allegedly whitewashed review that was then used by others, like Manafort, to defend the then-Russian aligned Ukrainian government in the media.

Though Craig claimed to have never lobbied on behalf of Ukraine, it is known that he did engage with the media in regard to the report he wrote.

However, the attorney never registered as a foreign agent, and is now suspected of having lied to the U.S. Justice Department in 2013 and 2014 when asked about the nature and breadth of his work with Ukraine.

Interestingly, Craig’s firm reached a settlement agreement with the DOJ in January that avoided prosecution for failing to register as foreign agents in exchange for a sum of $4.6 million.

That settlement ironically exposed Craig for having lied years earlier.

Craig left the law firm at the same time of the settlement with DOJ.

Deny, deny, deny

For their part, Craig and his attorneys have proclaimed his innocence and alleged prosecutorial misconduct with regard to the federal indictments they expect to receive in the near future.

“We expect an indictment by the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office at the request of the National Security Division,” said the attorneys in a statement prior to Craig’s indictment. “Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government’s stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”

The investigation and prosecution of Manafort by Mueller’s special counsel team uncovered Craig’s related illegal lobbying efforts with Ukraine. The charges were initially passed off to New York prosecutors, but they declined to act and the case was moved to prosecutors in Washington.

If Craig is convicted, he will be the first prominent Democrat to be taken down as a result of the special counsel probe. Hopefully, he won’t be the last.

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