Donald Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, are all coming under closer scrutiny in the Trump Russia investigation. Both Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. reportedly noted Russia in the past as a source of money or connection to the Trump Organization business. Bloomberg Politics has drawn some further connections between Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Russian money deals related to the Trump Organization, in a column authored by a Donald Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien.
Eric Trump also allegedly once told a reporter that Russia funded the Trump Organization during the Great Recession. He later walked back those statements saying the reporter had a faulty recollection.
The National Law Journal reports that Robert Mueller the special prosecutor in the Trump Russia investigation has added an appellate specialist to his team of world-class investigators. It’s a move indicating Robert Mueller is gearing up for a lengthy fight that may include an appeals process.
In addition to an appellate specialist, Robert Mueller also has a host of experts on his team of investigators that have career experience in money laundering and organized crime.
The Washington Post recently noted that obstruction of justice is currently being investigated by Robert Mueller in the scope of the Trump Russia investigation. The New York Times has said that Robert Mueller is also looking at financial exchanges between Russians and offshore accounts that may be connected to Donald Trump.
Fox News Politics reported that yesterday, Donald Trump called the Trump Russia investigation a “witch hunt” and also “ridiculous.” He said that Robert Mueller was stacking his team with Hillary Clinton supporters or people who worked with Hillary Clinton. He also expressed concern that former FBI Director James Comey and Robert Mueller were “very very good friends” and hoped Mueller would arrive at the right conclusion.
“I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth.”
This may be very true, as the legal arena in Washington D.C., the home base of the Mueller investigation, is very small. There is the proverbial six degrees of separation between most legal eagles in Washington D.C., regardless of party line.
Donald Trump’s own lawyer in the Trump Russia investigation, Mark Kasowitz, also once shared a stage with Hillary Clinton and Democrat leader Senator Chuck Schumer in promoting Chuck Schumer’s book, Positively American: Winning back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time.
Donald Trump’s financial dealings will be a focus of the investigation to determine if he has any Russian financial connections or dealings. In May, Donald Trump told NBC that he’s not involved with Russia at all. He echoed this sentiment on Twitter in January 2017.
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
But statements that Donald Trump’s own children have made historically contradict this. As do his dealings with a real-estate development firm known as Bayrock Group, a group that once ran two floors beneath Donald Trump’s office in Trump Tower reports Bloomberg.
Bloomberg reports that Bayrock partnered with Donald Trump and his two children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. on real estate deals between 2002 and 2011. A key figure in those deals was allegedly Felix Sater, who accompanied Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to Moscow on multiple occasions.
Although Trump is saying now he had no business in Russia, it was a different story in 2007 when he testified under oath that Bayrock brought Russian investors to the Trump Tower to discuss Moscow business. Trump also reportedly said,
“It’s ridiculous that I wouldn’t be investing in Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment.”
One man has emerged has having left Bayrock Group after allegedly discovering the group was actually a “front for money laundering” reports Bloomberg. That former Bayrock insider is Jody Kriss, who ultimately sued Bayrock for theft in the amount of millions. Kriss also alleges that Bayrock has dodged taxes.
The Financial Times reports that attorneys for Jody Kriss appeared in court this week on some of those claims, asking a federal judge to make public court filings regarding Felix Sater. As a former CIA informant, many of Felix Sater’s files are sealed, and Kriss is seeking to have those unsealed, due to “the relationship between the defendant in this case and the president of the United States.”
Trump has worked very hard to distance himself from Felix Sater, but Bloomberg reports that former Bayrock employees say Sater and Trump met all the time and knew his children well. When James Comey was asked in a House Intelligence Committee hearing in March about Felix Sater and the alleged business dealings between he and Trump, the former FBI Director declined to comment.
Bloomberg reports that Jody Kriss has said that it was Felix Sater and himself that interacted the most with Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. The interactions included drafting contracts and “occasional nights on the town.” Kriss further alleges that all of the Trumps knew and saw Felix Sater regularly, saying, “Felix demonstrated that he was loyal to them.”
Kriss also says that Felix Sater met with Trump many times a week in Trump Tower, having business conversations that were “wide ranging and frequent – on a constant basis.”
Trump and his children were allegedly using Sater as the gateway between Trump and Russia and were seeking to put high-rises in Moscow at the time. Those deals never transpired although multiple trips to Russia by the Trump children did. They were frequently accompanied by Felix Sater.
When Donald Trump was asked by BBC journalist Jon Sweeney in 2013 if he had a connection to Felix Sater, he worked to distance himself from Sater. When Sweeney pressed the issue, Trump said, “Again Jon, maybe you’re thick, but when you have a signed contact, you can’t in this country just break it. And by the way Jon, I do have a big group of people waiting so I have to go.”
Sweeney tried to get one more question from Trump but Trump walked off.
The children of Donald Trump that are most involved in the Trump Organization, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, have made Russian references on occasion with the exception of Ivanka Trump. Ivanka has never mentioned Russia publicly. She has been to Moscow several times though.
It was in 2014 when Eric Trump allegedly made a Russian reference to a golf writer James Dodson, reportedly telling Dodson that Russia was a big funder to the Trump Organization.
Vanity Fair reports that the conversation happened in a golf cart, when Dodson asked Eric Trump about a recent multi-million dollar infusion into Trump Organization, and asked, “who does the funding?”
Eric Trump had said prior that he had “access to 100 million.” Dodson pressed on the funding reportedly saying, “I know no banks – because of the recession, the Great Recession – have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.”
The response from Eric Trump was allegedly, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
Eric reportedly further elaborated that the Trump Organization had “some guys that really, really love golf, they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.”
Eric Trump has since denied those statements saying that Russian golf course discussion didn’t happen, reports the New York Post.
But Eric Trump referred to Dodson’s comments as a “recollection” to the New York Post in May 2017, and not a lie. He also said, “We own our courses free and clear.”
Eric is not the only Trump having allegedly alluded to Russian money in the Trump Organization. Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008 that, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Grant Stern has also uncovered a lot of money pouring through Donald Trump Jr. from foreign banks in a recent report for The Stern Facts. Stern alleges that Donald Trump Jr. and Russia are connected via money laundering cases involving Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Seychelles Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Kyrgyzstan, and the United States.
Donald Trump Jr. recently was reportedly paid to give a speech at the Baltic International Bank’s annual conference in 2012. The bank has branches in Latvia, London, Moscow, and Ukraine. Donald Trump Jr. will also reportedly block anyone on Twitter that addresses this meeting.
The Democratic Coalition has uncovered pictures of Donald Trump Jr. about this meeting on the foreign bank’s website. Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition told Grant Stern the following.
“Don Jr. is looking for an easy out. He met one on one with the head of a bank that was actively running a scam to launder money for Mexican drug lords. When confronted with hard evidence, he didn’t deny or clarify, he ran away and hid like a coward.”
The full photo layout of Donald Trump Jr. on the Baltic International Bank website can be found at The Stern Facts. The Stern Facts alleges that the bank is a Mexican cartel money laundering agent, who has even written a manual on money laundering, as first reported by the Latvian media outlet LSM.LV.
The Baltic International Bank was also fined $1.2 million last year for nefarious business doings that included money laundering, terrorist financing, and violations of customer due diligence reports the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP.) That is the same bank whose website held photos of Donald Trump Jr., and the same bank Trump Jr. took money from for a paid speaking engagement.
As the Mueller investigation widens from a team perspective, it will widen its scope as well. We do know that money laundering and offshore financial dealings experts are on Mueller’s team.
With the amount of demonstrable and public evidence linking Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. to Russia, those links will be investigated as well. Even statements by the Trump family about Russia made off the cuff will be looked at by Mueller’s team.
Those would include everything from Donald Trump asking Russia to hack Hillary Clinton, to Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. talking about money coming in from Russia.
[Feature Image by John Locher/AP Images]