President Donald Trump may want the headaches associated with the Russia scandal to go away, but a new report has drawn attention to yet another controversial aspect of Trump's relationship with that country's financial elite.
Although Trump told NBC in May, "I am not involved in Russia," he admitted in a 2007 deposition that a real estate development firm known as the Bayrock Group had brought Russian investors to Trump Tower to discuss investing in Moscow, according to a report by Bloomberg.
"It's ridiculous that I wouldn't be investing in Russia," Trump said. "Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment."
Bloomberg also reported that one of the principals at Bayrock is businessman Felix Sater, who reportedly has ties to organized crime in both the United States and Russia. Although Trump has repeatedly insisted that he is only passingly acquainted with Sater, former Bayrock employees insist that Sater often met with Trump at his business empire's New York City headquarters and guided Trump's children around Moscow.
They also report that Sater is still in contact with the president and some of his advisers. It is worth noting that the Bayrock Group itself also had an office located in Trump Tower.
While the president likes to downplay his business ties to Russia, his son Donald Trump Jr. once admitted to a real estate conference in 2008 that Trump built a tower in Panama for wealthy Russian clients, according to a report by Time.
"Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia," Trump told the crowd.