Donald J. Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker alongside two Putin allies in Russian government service at the Russian Real Estate Summit in 2008. One Putin ally and conference speaker was himself an elected legislator in the Duma – or national parliament – as a member of the strongman’s United Russia party. The other speaker at that 2008 event is a still senior trade official, and was closely involved in organizing development around the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, in which the Russian President Putin was widely involved.
The newly discovered Russian Real Estate Summit event page differentiates for the first time that Donald Trump Jr. was actually the keynote speaker at the event run by Adam Smith Conferences, whose parent company is in the UK. This is the latest #TrumpLeaks revelation strongly linking the Trump Organization’s international businesses to Russia coming from the Democratic Coalition’s Scott Dworkin.
Importantly, the links and photos Democratic Coalition‘s Dworkin released today which elevates Trump Jr.’s participation level to “special guest,” also includes photographic evidence from Russian news photo agency Itar-TASS, that itself confirms Kommersant probably obtained Trump Jr.’s remarks at a formal press conference, possibly even via a press release. The extended subtitle of the Russian outlet’s 2008 story reads like a PR statement:
The Trump Organization corporation has announced that it wants to build elite housing and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, and to sell licenses to other developers to use the Trump name, according to Donald Trump, Jr., speaking at the “Real Estate in Russia” conference.
Donald Trump Jr.’s remarks captured in Kommersant have been consistently and widely reported by the mainstream media as signaling a major Trump Organization business connection in Russia, which the President-elect has constantly denied having throughout the campaign and afterward. If anything, the media may be under-reporting the importance of Trump Jr. speaking at such a prestigious conference.
It’s unknown if Trump Jr. collected a fee for his Russian Real Estate Summit speech, but his speaker’s bureau listing says he commands over $40,000 per appearance. It is also unknown if either of the government speakers who spoke at the same conference as Trump or any of the many influential speakers in finance, luxury home building, and global realty management began or maintained business with the Trump Organization after the real estate “Summit.”
However, Trump Jr.’s video recorded comments to Latvian interviewers in 2012 indicate strongly that speaking gigs were major networking opportunities for the President-elect’s son building relationships to exploit in his official duties for the family’s international real estate branding and licensing business.
“We have repeatedly heard from the Trump campaign and The Trump Organization that no one in the family has conducted business in Russia,” said the Democratic Coalition’s senior advisor Scott Dworkin, “but now we see Donald Trump, Jr. as the keynote speaker at a Russian real estate conference described as ‘a key date in the calendar of ALL top real estate professionals, who are interested, or currently doing business in the Real Estate sector in Russia.’
“At some point we have to ask ourselves when do we stop taking Trump’s word and start looking at the facts?”
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 4, 2017
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.