Despite recurred refusals of Russian ties, Trump has tried to invest in Moscow since the 1980 s, and mega-rich Russians, some with suspected mob ties, have invested in Trump projects stateside for equally as long. Russian banks have bailed out failing Trump projects and financed other projects.
Trump tweeted after he was elected,” Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING !”
As lately as October 2015, however, Trump signed a letter of intent to develop a Trump tower in Moscow, research projects he had tried to launch in 1996, when he first applied for a Russian trademark.
In 1998, Trump began to finance big projects almost exclusively through Deutsche Bank, which has received at least one subpoena from the special counseling for documents pertaining to people affiliated with Trump. Coincidentally, Deutsche Bank was fined about $630 m in 2017 over a $10 bn Russian money-laundering strategy. No proof has emerged that the bank linked Trump up with Russia-sourced money.
In 2007, Trump partnered with the Russian-American developer Felix Sater to build a hotel/ condo in New York’s Soho district. A year later, Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev paid Trump $ 91 m for a Palm Beach estate. “We find a lot of money pouring in from Russia” to the Trump Organization, Donald Trump Jr told a real estate meeting in 2008. In 2010, a Russian-Canadian developer used monies from a Russian state-run bank to save a Trump hotel and tower project in Toronto.
Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump made a scouting trip to Moscow in 2006. In 2014, Ivanka Trump visited Baku, Azerbaijan, the former Soviet state where the Trump Organization partnered with reputedly corrupt oligarchs on a tower that never opened.” Well, we don’t will vary depending on American banks ,” Eric Trump was quoted as telling a golfing partner in 2014.” We have all the funding we need out of Russia .”
If we fail to get to the bottom of what happened, and to hold those responsible to account, then the Kremlin will not just have succeeded in undermining our democratic process but in undermining American justice. American weakness in the face of aggressivenes will merely guarantees to we are attacked again, and may embolden other foreign antagonists like China, Iran and North Korea to do the same. Americans will be left wondering whose interests our government is really serving: ours, or those of foreign adversaries.
This is why we, one conservative and one liberal, we have come together to advise Congress to pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation: one of us worked for John McCain and Mitt Romney, and one for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. We have been on the opposite sides of countless foreign policy and political debates. But we have put aside political changes, because ensuring American self-governance is too important.
We hope that those in Congress can follow suit.
Max Bergmann is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, he served in the state department from 2011 -2 017. Max Boot is a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations and a former foreign policy adviser to John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.