With new revelations about connections between Donald Trump and Russia becoming public on a regular basis, and a majority of Americans now saying, in a new poll, that Trump's Russia ties should be the subject of a congressional investigation, Trump has continued to deny that he, in fact, has any contacts with Russia at all.
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!Trump's own son Eric, however, has publicly contradicted his father's denials of any Russia links.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
"Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia," Eric Trump said in an interview with the Russian media, adding that "the best property buyers are now Russian."
But while Donald Trump has also denied knowing, or being more than passingly acquainted with several Russia-linked criminal figures to whom he has been tied, information on the public record contradicts Trump's denials. Much of the public information has been compiled by Los Angeles journalist Adam Khan, who has documented the vast web of Trump-Russia connections on his Twitter account, as well as on his GoFundMe page.
Here are four of those shadowy figures in Trump's circles whom he later claimed that he never knew, or barely knew.
In a 2013 lawsuit deposition, Trump claimed that he knew Sater so poorly that if he were in the same room as Sater "wouldn't know what he (Sater) looked like."
But the 50-year-old Russian immigrant, who was convicted for a violent assault in the 1990s — then employed as a Wall Street stockbroker, he stabbed a fellow broker in the face with a broken margarita glass — was involved in a major real estate project with Trump in the mid-2000s.
Later Sater was the managing director of a real estate firm known as Bayrock, and partnered with Trump on his Trump SoHo hotel project. Bayrock also struck numerous licensing deals with Trump for buildings throughout the world that would bear the "Trump" brand name.
When he sued for his share of the revenues from the Trump SoHo project, former Bayrock executive Jody Kriss named Sater (who sometimes spells his name "Satter") as one of a group of investors "in favor" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that Sater had threatened to have him killed.
"Satter had had a decades-long involvement with the New York and Russian mafia," Kriss said in a sworn deposition.
The following video shows Trump in his sworn deposition describing his relationship, or claimed lack of one, with Sater.
While neither Trump nor his organization has commented on whether or not Trump is acquainted with the 60-year-old billionaire Leviev — a native of Uzbekistan, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union — a photo posted to the Pinterest account of LLD Diamond USA apparently shows Trump cheerfully greeting the entrepreneur, who now claims Israeli citizenship.
Leviev claims a close friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2015, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now one of Trump's top and most trusted White House advisers, purchased the former New York Times building in Manhattan's Times Square from Leviev's company in a deal reportedly worth $295 million. The purchase was made through the company, Kushner Properties, where Jared Kushner was chief executive officer.
Leviev has been a strong opponent of United States sanctions on Russia, saying that the sanctions have damaged his business.
Ivankov was the supreme "godfather" of the Russian organized crime syndicate in the United States during the 1990s. His address during that period? Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City. Reportedly, Ivanov kept private phone and fax numbers for the Trump Organization in his personal phone book.
The criminal mastermind, known by the nickname "Yaponchik," which translates as "Little Japanese," was right-hand man to Semion Mogilevich, leader of what Russian police termed the "Red Mafia," one of Russia's bloodiest crime cartels. He was described by the Village Voice newspaper in 1998 as "The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World."
Ivankov was deported from the United States in 2004 and faced multiple murder charges in Moscow. He was acquitted by the Russian court — but in 2009, Trump's former neighbor was gunned down on a Moscow street.
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A Belarussian native believed to be 38-years-old, Millian heads a shadowy organization known by the official-sounding name of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA — but whose official address was once listed as the Astoria, Queens, New York apartment where Millian then lived. Millian has never specified why he emigrated to the United States, but he has claimed close ties to Trump.
Also unknown is the means by which Millian obtained United States citizenship.
The Trump Organization denies that Trump knows Millian, and Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has called Millian — whose real name is Siarhei Kukuts — "a phony."
Here, however, is a photo from his own Facebook account showing the mysterious Millian to the left of Trump (Trump's right). The authenticity of the photo has not been verified.
In a Russian media interview early last year, Millian said that he met Trump in 2007 when Trump visited Moscow to promote his Trump Vodka brand.
"Later, we met at his office in New York, where he introduced me to his right-hand man, Michael Cohen. He is Trump's main lawyer, all contracts go through him," Millian said. "Subsequently, a contract was signed with me to promote one of their real estate projects in Russia and the CIS. You can say I was their exclusive broker."
In the interview, Millian also said that Trump's election as president would prove beneficial to Russia.
But Millian is also alleged to be the source — albeit an unwitting one — for allegations against Trump in the notorious Steele Dossier, which states, among other sticking assertions, that Trump hired Russian prostitutes to perform a "golden shower" urination show for him in a Moscow hotel.
[Featured Image By Chris O'Meara/AP Images]