Since Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into the 2016 presidential election was launched in May 2017, the narrative from the left and their allies in the media has centered on the Trump campaign.
But it isn't just the Trump campaign that has been under scrutiny from Mueller's investigators. Washington D.C. lobbyist Tony Podesta, the brother of former Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, is reportedly under investigation for alleged criminal behavior.
The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta's company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine's image in the West.
The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort's role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.
Podesta's case has been referred to the Southern District of New York for further discovery and investigation. In October, Podesta resigned from his firm the Podesta Group.
Now, as many speculate Mueller is wrapping up his probe, the heat on Podesta for allegedly failing to register as a foreign agent has been turned up.
In a flurry of new activity, Justice Department prosecutors in the last several weeks have begun interviewing witnesses and contacting lawyers to schedule additional questioning related to the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, the people familiar with the inquiry said. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing work.
Meanwhile, President Trump continues to classify the Special Counsel as a "witch hunt."