According to Mother Jones, Fox commentator Monica Crowley will become chief spokeswoman for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Over two years ago, Crowley withdrew from consideration for a White House national security position due to plagiarism accusations. In 2017, Crowley was a registered lobbyist for Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. Pinchuk’s large donations to Trump drew the interest of special counsel Robert Mueller. Her lobbying for Pinchuk could complicate her new role, as the agency she will work for is responsible for sanctioning Russia and a prominent Ukrainian leader with ties to Pinchuk.
Crowley was chosen by Trump in 2017 to be the head of strategic communications for the National Security Council. After reports surfaced that she had plagiarized parts of her 2012 book and her 2000 Ph.D. dissertation, she withdrew from consideration. “After much reflection I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities,” she said in a January 2017 statement.
A few weeks later, she started working with Douglas Schoen, a Democrat lobbyist who works with clients in Ukraine. Crowley and Schoen worked to “provide outreach services” for Pinchuk, a billionaire steel, media, and banking mogul. Crowley met with Pinchuk in February 2017 to discuss “peace efforts involving Ukraine” among other subjects.
The “peace efforts” could be a reference to Pinchuk’s plan to promote settling the conflict that resulted from Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. His plan included concessions from Ukraine which would appease Russia’s desire for Ukraine to be a buffer against the West. Pinchuk also said Ukraine should accept “an incremental rollback of sanctions” that the U.S. and European states imposed on Russia after the 2014 annexation.
“Pinchuk wants to show that business stands for the reboot of relations between the U.S and Russia, even if Ukrainian national interests are the price for that,” Hanna Hopko, the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said.
Mustafa Nayyem, a Ukrainian lawmaker, said Pinchuk’s proposal would “doom millions of people to legalized slavery.”
Pinchuk seems to have ties with former pro-Russia president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Pinchuk met with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 to say that Yanukovych remained committed to the integration of Ukraine with Europe, despite Yanukovych’s worrying Kremlin ties.
Pinchuk has recently helped bolster Trump and other Republicans. He paid $150,000 to the Trump Foundation in 2015 for Trump to deliver a speech on Skype to a Kiev conference funded by Punchuk’s charitable foundation. The payment drew scrutiny from Mueller, who investigated the circumstances of the payment. Pinchuk also paid John Bolton $115,000 to participate in panel discussions.
Starting in February 2017 until January 2018, Crowley received at least $15,000 a month from EastOne Group, Pinchuk’s firm.
The Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on Yanukovych in 2014 for “actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.” This could potentially create a conflict of interest for Crowley, due to Pinchuk’s ties to Yanukovych.
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