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Donald Trump And Cozy Relations With Russia

May 21, 2017

There is no way to move around  Donald Trump without having Russia come up.Trump’s desire to move on from the Russia investigation, which has plagued his administration in its early days, is understandable. Unfortunately for the president, one big obstacle to doing so will likely be his own words: He has spent decades pursuing—and publicly discussing—business ties in Russia, meaning that his claims to currently have “no connections to” the country strain credulity. 

Trump’s references to Russia go back at least as far as his 1987 book The Art of the Deal, in which he wrote that he was in talks with the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin “about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government.” He attempted, ultimately unsuccessfully, to seal the deal with a visit to Moscow, during which, according to The Washington Post, Trump “met with a lot of economic and financial advisers in the Politburo,” the Soviet Union’s chief political body. The next year, the real-estate mogul personally hosted the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev at Trump Tower in New York.

According to The New York Times, Trump attempted to rekindle his Russian connections during one of his brushes with bankruptcy in 1996, saying he had never been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow.” Once again, the proposed development, this time an underground shopping mall near the Kremlin, fell through. In the process, though,Trump developed a partnership with a development company called the Bayrock Group, which was founded by a former Soviet official and a Russian-American businessman who has since been implicated in a stock-manipulation and money-laundering scheme involving members of the Russian mob. Over the next decade, CNN has reported, Trump contracted with the Russian law firm Sojuzpatent to file at least eight trademarks in the country. Also during the late 1990s, USA Today notes, “dozens of condominiums in Trump World Tower in midtown Manhattan were bought by Russians” who “sought an audience with Trump, whose business acumen they respected.”

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