Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that he has “nothing to do with Russia” the paper’s most severe falsehood rating: “four pinocchios.”
Media figures questioned Trump’s relationship with Russia after he stood by “frightening” statements that he would defend NATO allies only if they “fulfill their obligations to us” and repeatedly expressed his admiration “for all things Putin-esque.” During a July 27 news conference, Trump denied that he had any financial ties to Russian government officials or investors.
In a July 27 fact check, Kessler wrote that Trump has previously expressed “continuing interest in doing deals” with Russia but was “finding it difficult.” Kessler wrote that although “it may be possible that he has no current investments in Russia,” it is “not for lack of trying.” Kessler called Trump’s remarks “artfully deceiving” and rated Trump’s claim “four pinocchios.” Kessler wrote:
In a news conference responding to evidence suggesting Russian agencies hacked the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee, the GOP presidential nominee insisted that he had no business dealings in Russia — with one single exception.
As he put it: “What do I have to do with Russia? … I bought [a Palm Beach, FL,] house for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian. … I guess probably I sell condos to Russians, okay?”
But there is other evidence that shows a continuing interest in doing deals not only with Russian real estate buyers, but deals in Russia. “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment,” [Donald] Trump said in a 2007 deposition. “We will be in Moscow at some point,” he said.
There is some evidence that Trump’s interest in doing business in Russia is unrequited. In 1987, he went to Moscow to find a site for [a] luxury hotel; no deal emerged. In 1996, he sought to build a condominium complex in Russia; that also did not succeed. In 2005, Trump signed a one-year deal with a New York development company to explore a Trump Tower in Moscow, but the effort fizzled.
In a 2008 speech, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., made it clear that the Trumps want to do business in Russia, but were finding it difficult.
Trump’s remarks are artfully deceiving. He says he had nothing to do with Russia, pointing only to a Florida real estate sale. It may be possible that he has no current investments in Russia, but not for lack of trying.