In July of 1987, 41-year-old New York real estate developer Donald Trump made a trip to Moscow, in the what was then the Soviet Union, supposedly to explore the possibility of building a new Trump-branded luxury hotel there directly across from the Kremlin itself. On that trip, the Soviet Union’s feared intelligence agency known as the KGB began developing Trump as an “asset,” likely with the intention of putting Trump in the United States presidency. That’s the conclusion of a new book by a leading investigative reporter, Craig Unger, whose House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia is scheduled to hit bookstores and online sellers on August 14.
But the book would not be the first to detail Trump’s 1987 trip to Moscow. A number of journalists have explored what may have happened on the trip, including British Russia expert Luke Harding, who wrote last year in Politico that Trump was targeted by the KGB which operated Intourist, the Soviet government-run travel agency that arranged visits by foreign dignitaries.
But, Harding wondered, “there were many ambitious real estate developers in the United States — why had Moscow picked Trump?”
According to Unger’s new book, an advance copy of which was obtained by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, the answer is simple. Trump’s “greed” made him “easy prey” for the Soviet intelligence operatives.
The book also reports claims by a former high-ranking KGB official that Trump would have been closely watched by the Soviet spies throughout his visit, and “would have been filmed in 1987 with Russian prostitutes sent to him as a ‘honey trap,’ making him vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin,” the top KGB official, Oleg Kalugin, tells Unger in the book, according to the Mail summary.
Another former Russian intelligence agent, Viktor Suvorov, made similar allegations to Harding, for Harding’s 2017 book Collusion, and was quoted in Harding’s Politico article.
“Everything is free. There are good parties with nice girls. It could be a sauna and girls and who knows what else,” Suvorov told Harding, adding that Trump’s hotel rooms would have been under “24-hour control,” by the KGB, whose agents would watch Trump’s every move via hidden cameras.
“The interest is only one. To collect some information and keep that information about him for the future,” Suvorov said.
In its September 28, 1987 issue — published just two months after Trump’s trip to Moscow — Newsweek magazine published a cover story on Trump. In that story, as journalist Sarah Kendzior noted in her own article on Trump’s long-standing Russia ties for The Correspondent, the magazine quoted Trump’s friends openly discussing his presidential ambitions.
Trump himself also hinted that he may run for president in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1988, in the video below.
“In 1987, Trump began discussing his desire to partner with Russia to use nuclear weapons,” Kendzior wrote. “He also openly revealed the anti-American and xenophobic streak that remains part of his politics to this day, taking out full page ads condemning US policies and calling America a ‘failure’ in a speech that October. Though he ultimately stated he would not run for president in the 1988 election, the content of that speech was like a dry run for his vitriolic 2016 campaign rallies.”
The full-page ad taken out in The New York Times by Trump in September of 1987 was recently uncovered and posted online by BuzzFeed. In the ad, Trump calls for making Japan “pay” for its defense by the United States military — the exact theme he sounded, as The Japan Times reported, during the 2016 presidential election campaign.