Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation to President Donald Trump’s charity in 2015 from a Ukrainian businessman who has given tens of millions of dollars to Bill and Hillary Clinton, according to a new report.
The donation, from Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, came after “then-candidate Donald Trump gave a 20-minute speech at a European conference that promoted closer ties between Ukraine and the West,” Business Insider reported.
The speech was set up in August 2015 when Doug Schoen, a political consultant for Pinchuk, contacted Trump directly and asked if he would give a speech. Trump reportedly accepted but did not bring up the subject of being paid to make the appearance.
The report states that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is alleged to “have called Schoen the next day to ask for a $150,000 fee from Pinchuk in exchange for the talk.”
The New York Times reported in 2016 that Pinchuk “has directed between $10 million and $25 million to the [Clinton] foundation,” and that he also “lent his private plane to the Clintons and traveled to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend Mr. Clinton’s star-studded 65th birthday celebration.”
The Times report also notes that Schoen, who was a former political consultant for Bill Clinton, arranged approximately a dozen meetings with Hillary Clinton’s State Department on behalf of or with Pinchuk between September 2011 and November 2012 to discuss political problems in Ukraine.
A January 2017 report from Politico alleged that Ukrainian government officials worked to boost Hillary Clinton and hurt then-candidate Donald Trump by “helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last July demanding answers from the Department of Justice on the alleged collusion between the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and the Ukrainian government.
Another report from January 2017, from the Observer, noted that Pinchuk funded “the Washington-based think tank Atlantic Council, which is an openly anti-Russian organization partly.”
Serving on the Atlantic Council is senior fellow Dmitri Alperovitch, who is the co-founder and CTO of Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike is the firm that the DNC hired to investigate the alleged hacks into their servers.
The Observer added, “The DNC denied multiple requests from the FBI to access their servers, effectively forcing the FBI to rely on CrowdStrike’s assessment of the hacks.”