Former Trump pick now lobbying for Ukrainian oligarch with Russian ties

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Monica Crowley was initially selected as a deputy national security advisor in President Donald Trump's administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s original pick for deputy national security adviser is now lobbying for a Ukrainian businessman who once advocated that Kiev acquiesce to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, who would have served as the administration’s national security spokeswoman, withdrew from the transition team in January after a series of CNN’s KFILE reports revealed that she had plagiarized parts of Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia University.

According to a Friday filing with Justice Department, Crowley is now lobbying for Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and former Ukrainian politician.

Crowley “will be providing outreach services on behalf of Mr. Victor Pinchuk,” according to the Foreign Agents Registration Act filing, which requires people working on behalf of a foreign entity in a “political or quasi-political” capacity to file records.

Such services include “inviting government officials and other policymakers to attend conferences and meetings, such as the annual Munich Security Conference, to engage in learning and dialogue regarding issues of concern to Mr. Pinchuk.”

Pinchuk, whose total net worth has been valued by Forbes Magazine at just around $1.4 billion, has donated substantial sums to both the Clinton and Trump foundations.

In December Pinchuk penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal calling on Kiev to be willing to “make painful sacrifices,” including forestalling its NATO and EU aspirations and abandoning its claim to Crimea in return for Russia ending its support for separatists in Ukraine’s east.

During the campaign, Trump similarly expressed openness to recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea. Since then, his administration has taken a tougher line, pledging to maintain sanctions on Moscow over the issue.

The news of Crowley’s lobbying on behalf of a foreign client comes a week after Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department, acknowledging that the work he did during the transition may have benefited the Turkish government.

Justice Department, acknowledging that the work may have benefited the Turkish government.

By Ryan Browne, CNN