Politics

Federal Prosecutors Weighing Criminal Charges Against Former Obama White House Counsel

An attorney who served as White House counsel in the Obama administration is under investigation for his role in dealings linked to the case against Paul Manafort, according to a report from CNN, citing sources “familiar with the matter.”

Manafort, who briefly served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was the target of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice, both having to do with dealings in Ukraine that took place years before his involvement with the Trump campaign.

CNN reported Friday that attorney Greg Craig, who was White House counsel from 2009 to 2010, is under scrutiny over whether he lobbied for Ukrainian leaders without registering as a foreign agent.

The investigation also touches on the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where Craig was a partner at the time.

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Craig’s actions were taken after he left the White House, according to the report.

Connections between Manafort, the firm and Craig were revealed in filings in the Manafort case.

Craig’s attorney William Taylor III said his client did nothing wrong.

“Greg Craig was not required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” Taylor said in a statement, Law.com reported.

Does this show how deep corruption is in Washington?

Craig himself would not comment on the investigation.

This is not the first controversial case for Taylor, who represented Fusion GPS, the firm involved in the production of a dossier of discredited claims against Trump.

NBC News reported that Craig was the supervisor of Alex van der Zwaan, a Skadden lawyer who has pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and about communications concerning the Ukrainian politician for whom Manafort was also working.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department have not yet decided if they will file charges against either Craig or the law firm, CNN reported.

The law firm was paid more than $4.6 million, which Manafort sought to hide, the court filing said.

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Bloomberg reported that the law firm is also facing questions of conflict of interest in the issues surrounding former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Skadden lawyers, which would have included Craig,  may have violated their ethical responsibilities through their actions, said Rebecca Roiphe, who provides instruction on legal ethics at New York Law School.

“Skadden could face some problems with disciplinary authorities in D.C., assuming this is as bad and as baseless as described,” she said.

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