(This article is mistitled. We never know the answer to “Why”, though I would guess it’s a standard gift between influential people. I’d prefer it didn’t happen, of course.)
Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk’s foundation was the single largest outside donor to Donald Trump’s private charity in 2015, according to new IRS filings filed by the organization. The $150,000 gift amounted to 20 percent of the foundation’s total donations during that time, the documents showed. The filings also affirmed Trump violated tax laws by using his private foundation to self-deal, or enrich himself and his businesses instead of fulfilling a charitable mission.
Pinchuk’s gift was given in conjunction with a short video Trump made for the Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, held in Kiev in September of 2015, according to The Washington Post.
In the video, Trump also seemed to suggest that Ukraine fell subject to aggression from Russia because President Barack Obama was not a strong enough leader. “Putin does not respect our president whatsoever,” Trump said at one point. “The fact is that Ukraine is an amazing place. You know, I’ve known so many people, so many years in the Ukraine. These are people that want what’s good. They want what’s right. And they’re not being treated right by the United States. And also by the way, and I hate to say this, they’re not being treated right by Europe itself.”
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And it’s not entirely clear that Trump is willing to address these concerns, as he told The New York Times in a meeting on Tuesday that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this story, even though much of the video was little more than Trump riffing on some of his favorite mantras of the Republican primary. He promised that the U.S. “military under my presidency would be very greatly enhanced. Hopefully to a point where we wouldn’t have to use it.
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“I know many people that live in the Ukraine. They’re friends of mine. They’re fantastic people. Victor is an example. Victor by the way is a very very special man a special entrepreneur,” Trump said. “And when he was up seeing me I said, ‘I think I could learn more from you than you could from me.’”