Mueller transfers foreign agent inquiries to New York prosecutors: report

Mueller transfers foreign agent inquiries to New York prosecutors: report
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Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has referred several foreign agent inquiries to federal prosecutors in New York in recent months, sources familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday

Based on Mueller's referrals, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating whether several high-level American lobbyists violated national laws by failing to register their work as foreign agents on behalf of groups associated with Ukraine, CNN reported.

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Matters referred by Mueller involve Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, CNN reported. 

Podesta's work with the lobbying firm Podesta Group, Weber's work for Mercury Public Affairs and Craig's work for law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are reportedly part of the inquiry. 

Mueller has been investigating these firms as part of his inquiry into former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills Mueller subpoenas former Cambridge Analytica employee MORE and his associate, Richard Gates. 
 
The special counsel's office charged Manafort and Gates with failing to register as foreign agents based on work they did for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
 
Manfort and Gates paid Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group for work on behalf of Ukraine's government, according to court filings reported by CNN. Manafort pleaded not guilty and faces trial in Washington, D.C., in September, while Gates pleaded guilty. 

Mueller reportedly asked prosecutors in Manhattan to look into whether Podesta, Weber and Craig worked on behalf of the Ukrainian government in the U.S. without registering with the Justice Department. 

Mueller this year referred President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's former personal attorney Michael Cohen to the U.S. Attorney's office. Cohen is reportedly under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations. 

The referrals have come about as part of Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. 

Mueller's probe has come under fire for taking on issues that are extraneous to possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. 
 
Sources told CNN that the special counsel's decision to refer these foreign agent cases to prosecutors in New York should appease those criticisms.