Politics

Mueller is reportedly investigating $150,000 a Ukrainian billionaire gave Trump's foundation

Key Points
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 payment that Donald Trump's foundation received in 2015 from a Ukrainian billionaire in exchange for his talking at a conference, the New York Times reported Monday.
  • Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate, paid the sum in September 2015 when Trump was vying for the Republican Party's nomination for the presidential race, according to the report.
  • Pinchuk was seeking "closer ties for Ukraine to the West" when he approached Trump, the Times reported.
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Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 payment that Donald Trump's foundation received in 2015 from a Ukrainian billionaire, The New York Times reported Monday.

Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate, paid the sum to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in September 2015 when Trump was vying for the Republican Party's nomination for president, according to the report.

That was the largest contribution that the foundation received in 2015, besides money from Trump himself, the Times reported. In exchange, Trump made a 20-minute appearance in September 2015 through video at a conference in Kiev, Ukraine, according to the report.

Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
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Trump was approached by Pinchuk, who was seeking "closer ties for Ukraine to the West," the Times reported. Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, solicited the donation, it added.

The Trump Organization, Pinchuk and Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, didn't immediately reply to CNBC's email request for comment on the report.

The Times quotes a statement from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation saying it engaged with Trump and others to "promote strengthened and enduring ties between Ukraine and the West." According to the Times, the foundation said its donation was "a specific request of Mr. Trump Foundation in September of 2015 when there were multiple candidates for the Republican nomination for president and it was by no means assured that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016."

Mueller, in investigating Russian interference in U.S. politics, subpoenaed the Trump Organization earlier this year for records about its business dealings with foreign nationals. The company then turned over documents about the $150,000 from Pinchuk, the Times said.

The subpoena adds to signs in recent months that Mueller's team is probing interactions that Trump and his associates had with foreigners beyond those from Russia.

For more on the $150,000 donation, see the article in The New York Times.