President Donald Trump’s connections with the Russian Government have been a popular topic for months now. Amid near-constant scandals involving members of his campaign staff and administration, Trump has been adamant that he has no connection to Russia, politically or through his business interests.
Trump even tweeted this morning, ahead of FBI Director James Comey’s appearance at the House Intelligence Committee, that the whole story is “fake news.” These claims are not new, in fact, they’re Trump’s go to defense when talking about this subject.
James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
Back in October, when the campaign was in full swing, Trump declared to thousands of his misguided supporters “I have nothing to do with Russia.” Trump meant this in the political and business senses of the phrase. But it turns out that, unsurprisingly, the soon-to-be President-Elect was lying.
In an exclusive interview with Forbes, a business magazine, Emin Agalarov claims he has an ongoing relationship with the Trump family and a few business interests as well. Agalarov is a Russian pop singer, real estate mogul and the son of one of Russia’s richest people.
Agalarov claims that he and his father were going to build a Trump Tower in Russia, but plans were stalled after Trump ran for President. He also reveals that he and his father are in contact with the Trump family on a regular basis.
After Trump’s victory, he and his father sent the President-Elect their congratulations, for which they received a hand-written reply. Agalarov also spoke to Donald Trump Jr. as recently as January.
Pointedly, Agalarov said:
Now that [Trump] ran and was elected, he does not forget his friends.
The Agalarov’s first started doing business with Trump five years ago, when they bought the licensing fees to host Miss Universe in Moscow. But what they really wanted, was a licensing partnership with Trump. Agalarov said:
We thought that building a Trump Tower next to an Agalarov tower—having the two big names—could be a really cool project to execute…He ran for president, so we dropped the idea but if he hadn’t run we would probably be in the construction phase today.
A preliminary agreement was signed for the deal, stating the intent of both parties, but as Agalarov admits, the President’s political motives scuppered the deal. The two parties were ideal partners, with the Agalarov’s owning many high-value assets in Moscow, including a large mall.
As previously mentioned, Trump claims he has no connections to Russia, but Agalarov’s statements contradict this.
Trump could always claim that this deal was preliminary, never happened and so was inconsequential, but this would ignore Trump’s personal relationship with the Agalarov’s. Emin Agalarov got on so well with the President that Trump even agreed to appear in his music video which also features Miss Universe contestants.
Agalarov admits that, when speaking to Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son said that no new deals could be made until the Trump Organization’s leadership structure had settled, but this does not mean that nothing will occur between them in the future. Indeed, when Trump decides that he does want to do business in Russia, he is likely to go to the Agalarovs first.
Trump clearly did have business interests in Russia. He also planned to expand his portfolio there, going so far as to obnoxiously stick his name in big, bold, capital letters on a large building. Trump then lied to the American people during an election, claiming the complete opposite was true. When will Republicans wake up and realize they are appeasing a conman and a traitor?