Thursday, President Trump in a press conference that covered a variety of subjects once again stated he has nothing to do with Russia and has never done business with Russia. Yet, there is more to the story.
President Trump is facing a loud chorus of Americans who are just realizing that there are actual financial connections between himself, his corporation and Russia. Monday, National Security adviser, Michael Flynn, tendered his resignation in what the Trump campaign called an “erosion of trust” due to questions regarding the honesty of Flynn’s comments on phone calls between himself and a Russian Ambassador before President Trump was actually sworn in. According to multiple news sources, including the New York Times, Flynn spoke to the subject of Russian sanctions had been leveled against Russia by the Obama Administration for Russia’s interference in the Presidential election.
The erosion of trust came when Flynn relied to Vice President Pence that the phone calls did not involve the sanctions. That story was then changed by Kelly saying he didn’t remember talking about the sanctions and that it may have happened. All of this has caused an increased interest in what role does Russia play within the Trump administration. President Trump has repeatedly denied that he has any business with Russia or with that country’s President Putin. The question arises then, is that the truth?
Investigating the business side of Trump International is not an easy task. There are numerous companies from real estate, to entertainment and lifestyle products. The Trump name is a brand. The Trump corporation may not have anything to do with the product or real estate property except for the name on the door. The ins and outs of the finances of that very large and billion-dollar corporation is what many are asking for.
Russian money has helped to finance the Trump brand. To say that the Trump corporation has never done business with Russian businesses is a falsehood. For instance, in his book Trump: The Art of the Deal, Trump admits to seeking Russian financing. In 1986 the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin sat next to Donald Trump at a New York lunch and they talked about Trump Tower. According to Trump “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government.” Although a Trump Tower was not built in Moscow, financing by Russian banks have been an asset to Trump.
In 2010, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. stated at a real estate conference in New York in 2008, that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Donald Trump Jr. added, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” The project Trump Jr. was speaking of was the Trump SoHo is a hotel/condo complex that has faced lawsuits and the refund of millions of dollars to tenants who sued Trump on the basis that the facilities were not as promised. Trump SoHo eventually. was seized in a foreclosure amid slow sales of its condominiums, in 2015.
President Trump continues to say he has no business interests in Russia and Thursday said again, “we have no deals there, I have no money there.” In 2007 Trump stated in a deposition that “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment, we will be in Moscow at some point,” he promised. In 2005, Trump even signed a one-year deal with a New York development company to explore a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Then there is the even larger development of property called Trump SoHo as previously described. The partner in that project was with the financial backing of the Bayrock Group. Sitting on the board of Bayrock Group, Russian-born developer Felix Sater who ended up being convicted for his role in a $40 million mafia-linked stock fraud scheme. Trump has since stated he doesn’t know Sater and wouldn’t know him if Sater sat down next to him. Yet, Trump later hired Sater as a “senior adviser” in 2010 and he was even given a Trump Organization business card. The question that arises with this information is which statement by Trump is true? Is Trump now telling us there are no ties to Russia because the appearance of his real estate and other enterprises have a direct link back to Russia? Until President Trump releases his tax returns this question will continue to grow and continue to be a thorn in the side of this administration.