Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration, could be indicted in the coming days on charges related to his work for the Russia-aligned government of Ukraine, the New York Times informed.
The case against Craig, 74, stemmed from an investigation initiated by the office of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
So far, several Trump associates have been indicted or have pleaded guilty as part of the Russia investigation or in cases stemming from the inquiry. If Craig is charged, he will be the first prominent Democrat to join that group, Business Insider noted.
He would also become the first person to be charged in a case connected to the Special Counsel, after Mueller finished his investigation into the 2016 presidential election. In a summary of the inquiry, Attorney General William P. Barr said that the special counsel’s team had concluded that there was no evidence that President Trump or his aides “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The case against Craig is related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which the Justice Department is prioritizing in part because of scrutiny related to Mueller’s investigation.
The law requires Americans to disclose detailed information about lobbying and public relations work for foreign governments and politicians, and it has been the basis for charges brought against several people investigated by the special counsel.
Craig’s lawyers do not necessarily expect him to be charged with violating the act – however, they expect him to be charged with making false statements to the Justice Department officials examining whether he was required to register under the law for work he did in 2012, while he was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the Times adds.
The work, on behalf of the government of Viktor Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine, was linked to Paul Manafort, who at the time was a political consultant earning tens of millions of dollars for his representation of Yanukovych.
Manafort, who went on to become Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, was sentenced last month to seven and a half years in prison on charges brought by Mueller’s team related to obstruction of justice and violations of FARA, as well as banking and tax laws stemming from his work in Ukraine.