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Ex-Obama White House counsel caught in Mueller dragnet

14 April 2019

Craig's felony counts resulted from the investigations of unregistered foreign lobbying that arose from Robert Mueller's probe - the same one that prompted charges against former advisers to Trump over their ties to Russian Federation.

President Barack Obama (R) greets White House counsel Gregory Craig during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House on January 21, 2009.

The charges against Craig stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's findings next week.

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

The FARA crackdown has factored in cases against Craig, Craig's former law firm Skadden Arps and Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman now serving a 7-1/2 year prison sentence for lobbying and financial crimes.

Craig, who worked in the Clinton administration and served as President Barack Obama's first White House counsel, appeared at an arraignment hearing before U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson of Washington, D.C.

Manafort pleaded guilty previous year to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for his Ukraine work, as well as for financial crimes. John Edwards and James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was investigated and charged for leaking classified information.

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.

The New York Times reported the project was directed to the firm by Manafort, who was a political consultant in the region at the time.

The report was billed as independent, but critics have said it whitewashed a politically motivated prosecution.

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.

His former law firm has paid over $4.6 million and acknowledged that it failed to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine. Authorities say that Craig lied to the Mueller team about his work with the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013. Mueller had referred the case to the Southern District of NY, but that office has not brought these charges.

Ex-Obama White House counsel caught in Mueller dragnet