The husband of Democrat Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, reportedly took $700,000 from firms connected to a Ukrainian oligarch who has allegedly been “accused of ordering contract killings.”
Democrats are set to move their impeachment hearings from the Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee this week with hearings to officially begin tomorrow.
The Miami Herald reported last year:
Public records show that Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s husband, Robert Powell, spent much of the last 10 years as general counsel for companies owned at least in part by Igor Kolomoisky, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman involved in banking and mining. In federal financial disclosures, Mucarsel-Powell reported that her husband of 15 years earned most of their household income during the previous two years — at least $695,000 — from a ferroalloys trading corporation associated with Kolomoisky.
The connections between Robert Powell and Kolomoisky were first reported by Daily Beast reporter Betsy Swan last year — who also highlighted some of the allegations that have been made against the Ukrainian oligarch.
Swan reported in April 2018 that the FBI was “investigating” Kolomoisky over “potential financial crimes, including money laundering, according to the sources, who say the probe is wide-ranging and has been under way for quite some time. Kolomoisky has not been charged with any crime, and a lawyer representing him said he denies any wrongdoing.”
“Kolomoisky has a host of enemies. He’s been accused of commissioning contract killings,” Swan continued. “And in 2016, Ukraine’s central bank nationalized Kolomoisky’s PrivatBank because it didn’t have enough cash. Billions of dollars disappeared from its coffers because it lent so much to Kolomoisky associates, according to the FT. The move was widely viewed in the West as a victory for transparency and good governance, in a country whose politics are impoverished on both counts.”
Robert Powell’s connections to Kolomoisky could create a significant distraction for Democrats during their impeachment hearings since they launched their inquiry into President Donald Trump over a July 25 phone call that he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Democrats claim that Trump pressured Zelensky into investigating former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, which Democrats claim amounts to a quid pro quo or bribery.
So far, Democrats’ claims that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo or bribery have largely not been substantiated in their public impeachment hearings as multiple witnesses, including Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senior NSC official Tim Morrison, Ambassador Kurt Volker, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland all testified that there was no quid pro quo during the phone call.
In a separate report, The Daily Beast noted that the connections between Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s husband and the Ukrainian oligarch left many concerned.
“Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who focuses on Russia and Ukraine, said the link is concerning, citing accusations that Kolomoisky has been involved in billion-dollar criminal schemes and contract killings,” The Daily Beast reported. “He called the ties ‘highly suspicious.”
“When you work for a guy like that, you know what you’re dealing with,” said Edward Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There should be no illusion of what you’re dealing with, even if the business you have to conduct for him in the United States is completely clean. You know where the wealth came from. There should be no reason not to know, because everyone knows.”