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Convicted felon Jack Abramoff registers to return to lobbying

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Jack Abramoff, a high-profile American lobbyist who served four years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to bribing U.S. government officials, has officially returned to lobbying, according to documents he filed with the Justice Department.

Abramoff’s filing, saying that in December he worked to set up a meeting between Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso and then-President-elect Donald Trump, was the first to show that he has resumed work as a lobbyist.

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Federal law requires Americans acting on behalf of a foreign entity – either as a lobbyist or doing other messaging work – to register with the Department of Justice. While Abramoff told Justice that he accepted no payment for his work on behalf of Nguesso, the filings are a clear indication that he believes he met the legal definition of lobbying.

Had Abramoff done lobbying work for domestic companies before December, he would have had to disclose that to Congress. He has made no such disclosures.

In his filing with the Justice Department, Abramoff said he did not succeed in arranging a meeting between Nguesso and Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.

Abramoff in 2006 pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. His name became synonymous with government corruption, and Democrats attacked their Republican opponents who had ties or had received campaign donations from him.

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In addition to bribing government officials, Abramoff was accused of defrauding clients who were Native American tribes lobbying about reservation casinos. Abramoff was released from federal prison in 2010 and was then subject to three years on probation.

The work that Abramoff did for Nguesso is described by the former lobbyist as a one-off incident.

According to Abramoff, Congo officials enlisted Iancu Costel, a consultant in Romania, with the goal of improving U.S. relations, expanding trade, getting help fighting Boko Haram and stemming illegal immigration to the U.S. In turn, Costel asked Abramoff to help.

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Abramoff said in the filing that he contacted Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher for assistance in trying to arrange the meeting. According to Abramoff, Rohrabacher was the only government official he spoke with while helping Nguesso.

In his disclosure, Abramoff said he did not plan to work with Costel again.

An Abramoff attorney pointed to the filings when asked for comment. Neither Costel nor a spokesman for Rohrabacher could immediately be reached for comment.

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(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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Corey Lewandowski: Who cares if Trump asked me to obstruct justice — I went to the beach instead

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Following his hours-long hostile back-and-forth with the House Judiciary Committee, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Fox News to downplay the most serious revelation from the testimony — his confirmation of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report that the president ordered him to tell former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the Russia investigation.

This fact increases the evidence that Trump obstructed justice — but as far as Lewandowski was concerned, it was no big deal, and he explained why to Fox anchor Martha MacCallum.

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Much to the chagrin of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, Democrats allowed staff to ask questions of Corey Lewandowski. Republicans had done the same thing during the questioning of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when she testified during the Senate hearing for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

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‘Really, really damaging’: CNN legal analyst breaks down how the Lewandowski hearing was a disaster for Trump

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President Donald Trump, by all accounts, loved his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's performance in the House Judiciary Committee testimony on Russia and obstruction of justice — as did many of the grandstanding Republicans at the hearing like ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA).

But as Lawfare Institute general counsel and CNN legal analyst Susan Hennessey stated on "The Situation Room," the hearing was actually incredibly damning to the president.

"Lewandowski was performing for the president," said political analyst Gloria Borger. "He was performing for Republicans in the state of New Hampshire. If he decides to run for the Senate. And Republicans did get an opportunity today ... to sort of shove it back to the Democrats and say, look, you guys, Barack Obama knew about the Russian meddling, why didn't you tell us."

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