Donald Trump continues to face a barrage of criticism over his ties to Russia, and a new report published Monday by the New York Times may make the controversy even worse for the president-elect.
While Trump claims that he has always shied away from doing business in Russia, the Times report shows that the incoming president has spent decades trying to strike deals to get business in the country.
More from the report:
Mr. Trump repeatedly sought business in Russia as far back as 1987, when he traveled there to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have appeared in Moscow over and over in search of joint ventures, meeting with developers and government officials.
During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow across from the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.
As recently as 2013, Mr. Trump himself was in Moscow. He had sold Russian real estate developers the right to host his Miss Universe pageant that year, and he used the visit as a chance to discuss development deals, writing on Twitter at the time: “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”
As the Russian market opened up in the post-Soviet Union era, Mr. Trump and his partners pursued Russians who were newly flush with cash to buy apartments in Trump Towers in New York and Florida, sales that he boasted about in a 2014 interview. “I know the Russians better than anybody,” Mr. Trump told Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer who shared unpublished interview transcripts with The New York Times.
Seeking deals in Russia became part of a broader strategy to expand the Trump brand worldwide. By the mid-2000s, Mr. Trump was transitioning to mostly licensing his name to hotel, condominium and commercial towers rather than building or investing in real estate himself. He discovered that his name was especially attractive in developing countries where the rising rich aspired to the type of ritzy glamour he personified.
Trump’s history of seeking business in the country that helped him win last year’s election is well-documented, but that didn’t stop him from blatantly lying about it at last week’s disaster of a press conference.
“I have no dealings with Russia,” Trump said, adding: “I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we’ve stayed away.”
While Trump is right that none of his deals ever broke through in Russia, it’s only because his repeated efforts – which the New York Times outlined in the report – failed.
So not only has Trump been soft on Putin and Russia since he began his presidential campaign; he also has a decades-long history of trying to plant financial roots in the country, despite his latest lie claiming otherwise.
With just days until he is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Trump’s Russia problems continue to get worse.