Criminal Justice

Special counsel is reportedly probing donation to Trump's foundation by Ukrainian businessman

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Special counsel Robert Mueller.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating a $150,000 donation to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian businessman in exchange for a 20-minute video-link talk by Trump.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, reportedly solicited the payment from Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, the New York Times reports in a story based on information from three anonymous sources. Pinchuk, who favors closer ties between Ukraine and Western countries, made the payment in September 2015, during the campaign.

According to the Times, the donation to the foundation “raised fresh questions about how the president handled the entity he set up to deal with charitable giving.” The newspaper cites prior revelations that the foundation was used to pay legal settlements and once paid for a 6-foot tall portrait of Trump.

Pinchuk has also donated more than $13 million to Hillary Clinton’s family foundation since 2006.

Pinchuk’s foundation told the Times in a statement that the donation to Trump’s foundation was made when there were multiple candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, and “it was by no means assured” that Trump would be the nominee.

Mueller obtained information about the Pinchuk payment when the Trump Organization turned over records about business with foreign nationals in response to a subpoena. The donation was also disclosed in a tax form filed by the Trump Foundation after Trump’s election.

Mueller’s subpoena also sought records about Trump Organization communications regarding several Russians, the sources told the Times. Mueller is also questioning witnesses about whether Persian Gulf money had been used to fund political efforts by Trump, and is examining a failed deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to the article.

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