President Donald Trump questioned Monday whether the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta accepted money to have sanctions against Russia lifted and if the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate knew about it.
“Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?” Trump asked via Twitter on Monday morning.
Trump’s tweet followed a Fox News segment in which “Fox and Friends” aired a clip of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. The Trump ally told “Sunday Morning Futures” that the Russia-Trump story is “absurd” but raises questions about whether the Obama administration “deliberately” leaked information and what the Russians have been up to.
“But, frankly, that involves the Podesta brothers, one of whom is a registered agent for a Russian bank,” Gingrich said, referring to Tony Podesta. “It involves all the different things that Peter Schweizer wrote about on his book on ‘Clinton Cash.’ And it’s ironic that all of the real evidence of real money and real influence-buying by the Russians relates to Democrats.”
According to a report, Tony Podesta received $170,000 over a six-month span last year for representing Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, which sought to have economic sanctions against the country lifted.
David Marin, who is listed as a principal on the Podesta Group’s website, called the allegations “fake news” and “an attempt to distract.”
“Our work for Sberbank USA was never about getting sanctions lifted,” he said in an email to POLITICO. “It was simply about helping to clarify to what extent our client, the U.S. subsidiary, was subject to sanctions. We confirmed they were not.”
While Trump was at it, however, he posed another question to his millions of followers in a dig at Clinton, who blasted his budget proposal in a speech at Georgetown on Friday.
“Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate?” Trump asked (Clinton’s campaign was given a heads-up about a question the Democratic candidate would be asked at a town hall during the Democratic primary, not a debate, according to WikiLeaks release of hacked Podesta emails). “Just asking!”