“Federal prosecutors in New York are weighing criminal charges against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig as part of an investigation into whether he failed to register as a foreign agent in a probe that is linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” Politico reports.
David Drucker: “The pendulum of political power, which historically swings against the White House during the midterms, could be especially savage this year, given the sharp dissatisfaction with Trump in America’s usually Republican-leaning suburbs. Washington’s high-powered consulting class is betting on it. The lobby shops and advocacy organizations that play both sides and thrive on proximity to power are preparing for a changing of the gavel and moving to forge connections with Democratic committee chairmen in the House beginning in January of 2019, when the 116th Congress is seated.”
Said one GOP lobbyist: “Downtown, there is a sense that the House is already lost for Republicans. There is a hiring spree for plugged-in House Democrats who want to lobby. So, downtown is already planning on the Democratic takeover; the bets are on how big the flip will be.”
“Samuel Patten, an associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was charged Friday with failing to register as a foreign agent for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party,” Politico reports.
“The case, being handled by the U.S. attorney for Washington, was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller. The matter was scheduled for an 11 a.m. hearing in a D.C. federal court before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is also expected to preside over Manafort’s upcoming trial on money laundering charges.”
Earlier this year, The Alantic explained Patten’s connection to Cambridge Analytica and the suspected Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik.
“The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a U.S. legal team that includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani “was being paid by a global consulting firm when he sent a letter to the president of Romania last week that contradicted the U.S. government’s official position,” Politico reports.
“The Paul Manafort trial set for September in Washington is expected to last three weeks and, on the basis of a list of 1,500 possible exhibits, will delve far more deeply into how he operated as a lobbyist and consultant than was done in his just-completed trial in Virginia,” the Washington Post reports.
“The estimated trial timeline and exhibits were included in a joint filing Friday night in federal court in Washington by Manafort’s defense and prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller.”
New York Times: “At the trial of Paul Manafort, an unflattering picture has emerged of lawyers, lobbyists and consultants from both political parties winning big paydays for work on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned former Ukrainian strongman. Some spent the money on cars and homes, prosecutors said, and a jacket made of ostrich for Mr. Manafort.”
“The vigor with which Mr. Mueller has investigated the flows of foreign money from Ukraine, Turkey and other countries into Washington could be as much a part of his legacy as special counsel as whatever he discovers about possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign or presidential obstruction of justice.”
Politico: “Corporate America couldn’t hire Republican lobbyists fast enough after President Trump’s election gave the GOP unified control of Washington. Now there are signs that Democrats are back in demand. Companies and trade groups are trying to hire congressional staffers with ties to influential House Democrats four months ahead of the midterm elections, in which Democrats are expected to pick up seats and potentially retake control of the House.”
“Lobbyists are helping their clients meet with the Democrats who would become committee chairs if the party does win back the chamber. And trade groups are talking to members about what to expect from a Democratic takeover.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “discussed hiring a friend of a lobbyist family that owned a condominium he was renting for $50 a night, newly released emails suggest,” the New York Times reports.
“The files also show communications involving the lobbyist’s client interests that have not previously been disclosed, suggesting a closer relationship between the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, and the agency than previously known.”
“Vice President Pence has transformed his office into a new entry point for lobbyists seeking to influence the Trump administration across federal agencies,” the Washington Post reports.
“About twice as many companies and other interests hired lobbyists to contact the vice president’s office in Pence’s first year than in any single year during the tenures of Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Richard B. Cheney, filings show.”
“Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for Donald Trump, illegally engaged in secret lobbying,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Investigators in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are examining whether Mr. Cohen violated any federal disclosure laws in connection with his consulting deals, including whether he lobbied for domestic or foreign clients without properly registering.”
“The leading Republican candidate in Georgia’s high-profile governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R), bought a condominium in downtown Atlanta 10 years ago from a State Capitol lobbyist, seemingly at a discount,” a New York Times investigation has found.
“Real estate records show that Mr. Cagle, who faces a runoff for the Republican nomination on July 24, purchased the one-bedroom apartment at 24 percent less than its appraised value — below comparable sales prices — and sold it last year at a 29 percent profit. He was preparing for his first run for governor when, without an agent, he negotiated the deal with Terry Hobbs, a longtime lobbyist who represents the natural gas marketer Scana.”
“Top-level GOP aides who helped write the new tax law are now leaving the Hill in droves to cash in as lobbyists on K Street and other marquee private-sector destinations,” Politico reports.
“Powerhouse accounting firm PwC landed one of the biggest prizes, announcing Monday that Mark Prater, the Senate Finance Committee’s longtime GOP chief tax counsel, is the new managing director of its tax policy services group.”
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson “said in a staffwide memo sent on Friday that the company had made a ‘big mistake’ by hiring President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to advise on the telecommunication giant’s deal to buy Time Warner,” the New York Times reports.
Said Stephenson: “Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged. There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports the company’s top lobbyist was forced into retirement.
Bryan Lanza, a former senior campaign and transition aide to President Trump “recently inked a deal to help a Russian oligarch’s conglomerate shed sanctions the Trump administration slapped on them last month,” CNN reports.
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
— White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, quoted by the New York Times.