Last week, lawyers representing President Donald Trump issued a circuitously written letter seeking to minimize the allegations that their client — who, again, is the president of the United States of America — has potentially compromising financial ties to the Russian government.
This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the president’s business ties to Russian state institutions go deeper than previously known. The Journal said on Wednesday that the state-run bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) financed an $850 million deal with Russian-Canadian real estate developer Alexander Schnaider — who then funded the construction of a Trump-branded hotel in Toronto.
A lawyer for Schnaider told the Journal that he is “not able to confirm that any funds … went into the Toronto project” from the VEB deal. The letter from Trump’s lawyers would seem not to apply to transactions between Russian state entities and Trump business partners, where the money could indirectly — but decisively — go toward supporting Trump projects.
The Journal report comes amid a flood of other revelations about Trump’s apparent attempts to squelch an FBI criminal investigation into his associates’ contact with Moscow.
Trump has previously said he has “NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING” to do with Russia [emphasis his].
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
However, his own son — a key member of the family business — has reportedly intimated otherwise, telling a golf reporter that Russia provides “all the funding we need” to construct golf courses.
Federal and congressional investigators are now scrutinizing financial links between Trump and the Russian government.