Donald Trump on Russia

Donald Trump on His Relationship with Russia and Russians


1987 - June 2016
July 2016 – 2020

Donald Trump on Russia Then
Donald Trump on Russia Now

#DonaldTrump 10/17/13: "I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians." » #Trump 1/11/17: "I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away." Click To Tweet

Donald Trump on His Relationship with Russia and Russians


1987 - June 2016

Donald Trump on Russia Then
“I sat next to the Soviet ambassador, Yuri Dubini… One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin, in partnership with the Soviet government. They have asked me to go to Moscow in July…
“In January 1987, I got a letter from Yuri Dubinin, the Soviet ambassador to the United States, that began: ‘It is a pleasure for me to relay some from Moscow.’ It went on to say that the leading Soviet state agency for international tourism, Goscomintourist, had expressed interest in pursuing a joint venture to construct and manage a hotel in Moscow. On July 4, I flew with Ivana, her assistant Lisa Calandra, and Norma to Moscow. It was an extraordinary experience. We toured a half dozen potential sites for a hotel, including several near Red Square. We stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, and I was impressed with the ambition of the Soviet officials to make a deal.”
- Nov 1987

Donald Trump & Tony Schwartz, Nov. 1, 1987
The Art of the Deal

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I like the [Russian] people, and the people like me.”
- Dec 14, 1987

Grant’s Interest Rate Observer (via Value Walk), July 23, 2016
Sell Donald Trump

(retrieved 7/12/18)

“Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand… When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength… Yet Gorbachev is getting credit for being a wonderful leader and we should continue giving him credit, because he’s destroying the Soviet Union.

“Generally, [top-level Soviet officials] are much tougher and smarter than our representatives. We have people in this country just as smart, but unfortunately, they’re not elected officials.”
- March 1, 1990

Playboy, March 1, 1990
The 1990 Playboy Interview With Donald Trump

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“We have an understanding that we will be [building a Trump Tower here in Moscow]… We have tremendous financial commitments from various groups… We’re ready to go anytime we want to go.”
- Nov 6, 1996

Moscow Times, Nov. 12, 1996
Trump Lays Bet on New Moscow Skyline

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I’ve seen cities all over the world. Some I’ve liked, some I haven’t, [but I don’t think I’ve ever been] as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow.”
- Nov 6, 1996

Moscow Times (via the New York Times), Nov. 12, 1996
For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“[I intend to build] something major [in Moscow… A retired Russian general] invited me to Russia and I accepted. I thought he was terrific.”
- Jan 23, 1997

Joint news interview following a private meeting with retired Russian general Aleksandr Lebed, then running for President of Russia.

New York Times, Jan. 23, 1997
Unlikely Meeting of Minds: Lebed Meets The Donald

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“We are actually looking at something in Moscow right now, and it would be skyscrapers and hotels, not casinos. Only quality stuff…
“I’ll soon be going again to Moscow. We’re looking at the Moskva Hotel. We’re also looking at the Rossiya. That’s a very big project; I think it’s the largest hotel in the world. And we’re working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow and the mayor’s people. So far, they’ve been very responsive.”
- Jan 1997

Joint New Yorker interview with Aleksandr Lebed, a retired Russian general then running for President of Russia.

The New Yorker, May 19, 1997
Trump Solo

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“[The Moscow project] was a Trump International Hotel and Tower. It would be a nonexclusive deal, so it would not have precluded me from doing other deals in Moscow, which was very important to me…

“Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment. We will be in Moscow at some point.”
- Dec 19, 2007

Testimony in reference to Trump's attempt to build Trump Tower Moscow in the 1990's.

Donald Trump, Dec. 19, 2007
Superior Court of New Jersey Deposition, December 19, 2007

(retrieved 7/12/18)
The Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9th. A big deal that will bring our countries together!”
“I am not angry at Russia…because their leaders are far smarter than ours.”
“The Russians are playing a very smart game.”
“I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians. They’re smart and they’re tough.”
- Oct 17, 2013

The Late Show with David Letterman, Oct. 17, 2013
Donald Trump on David Letterman 17 October, 2013

(retrieved 7/12/18)
starts at 14:47

“I’m in Moscow for Miss Universe tonight – picking a winner is very hard, they are all winners. Total sellout of arena. Big night in Russia!”
“I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.
- Nov 9, 2013

Russia Today interview in Moscow

RT (Russia Today), Nov. 9, 2013
US 'Miss Universe' billionaire plans Russian Trump Tower

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room [here in Moscow].”
- Nov 9, 2013

Real Estate Weekly, Nov. 12, 2013
Hotel trio aims to bring Manhattan to Moscow

(retrieved 7/12/18)

The article explains that while in Moscow Trump was involved with negotiations to build Trump Tower Moscow with Russian oligarch and Putin associate Aras Agalarov, Soviet-born New York City real estate tycoon Alex Sapir, and Sapir’s business partner and brother-in-law Rotem Rosen. Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov were instrumental in setting up the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

“We’ve met with a number of people and we may do something in Moscow and in various parts of Russia but we have had some meetings while I’m here and we could very well do something. We’re thinking about doing a Trump Tower Moscow. So we’re talking to a group of people about doing that.”
- Nov 2013

Moscow press conference

Daily Kos, Aug 28, 2017
Video Uncovered of Trump Talking Trump Tower Moscow in Russia

(retrieved 11/5/18)
starts at beginning

“I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”
“I had a great weekend with you [Aras Agalarov] and your family [in Moscow]… TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”

Aras Agalarov is a Russian real estate tycoon, close business associate of Vladimir Putin, and personal friend of Trump’s who worked with Trump to produce the 2013 Miss Universe pageant on November 9, 2013, in Moscow. Agalarov and his son, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, negotiated with Trump to build Trump Tower Moscow and were instrumental in setting up the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

“I have plans to start business in Russia. I am currently in talks with several Russian companies to build a skyscraper on the model of Trump Tower in New York.”
- Nov 12, 2013

Moscow Times, Nov 12, 2013
Donald Trump Planning Skyscraper in Moscow

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“Via @MoscowTimes Donald Trump Planning Skyscraper in Moscow
Crocus City Hall in Moscow is a fabulous place!”

Crocus City Hall is a property of Russian real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov, a close business associate of Vladimir Putin and personal friend of Trump’s who worked with Trump to produce the 2013 Miss Universe pageant on November 9, 2013, in Moscow. Agalarov and his son, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, negotiated with Trump to build Trump Tower Moscow and were instrumental in setting up the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Emin from Russia–a very talented guy.”

Trump tweets a link here to a music video by Emin Agalarov featuring a cameo by Trump.

“‘Donald Trump in New @eminofficial Video’ … Emin & family are wonderful people.”

Trump tweets an article to a link here about a music video by Emin Agalarov featuring a cameo by Trump.

“I know the Russians better than anybody.”
- 2014

New York Times, Jan. 16, 2017
For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I will tell you something, if I’m Putin, I’m not happy about [US criticism of Russia]. And I know for a fact he’s not happy about it. When I went to Russia with the Miss Universe Pageant, he contacted me and was so nice and I mean, the russian people were so fantastic to us, I can say this, they are doing — they’re outsmarting us at many terms. Their leaders, whether you call them smarter or more cunning or whatever, but they’re outsmarting us.

“I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt and then go on and win something important later on because they’re not going to be so opposed to what we’re doing.”
- Feb 10, 2014

Fox and Friends interview

Fox News (via Internet Archive), Feb. 10, 2014
Fox and Friends February 10, 2014

(retrieved 7/12/18)

“I was in Moscow a couple months ago… they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, beautiful present, with a beautiful note. I spoke to all of his people.”
- March 6, 2014

Buzzfeed News, July 31, 2016
Trump Boasted In 2014 Of Receiving Gift From Putin And Meeting His Advisers

(retrieved 7/12/18)
starts at beginning

“I was [in Moscow] two years ago… I got to meet all of [Russia’s] leaders. I got to meet all – I mean, everybody was there. It was a massive event. And let me tell you, it was tremendous.”
- June 18, 2015

Interview with Sean Hannity

Fox News, June 18, 2015
Exclusive: Donald Trump on what made him run for president on 'Hannity'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“Two years ago, I was in Moscow. And a lot of the people, Hugh, they were there, and they had an amazing time. And they’re terrific people. You know, I was getting along with them so great. I really loved my weekend, I called it my weekend in Moscow. But I was with the top level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top of the government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”
- Sept 21, 2015

Interview with Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt Show, Sept. 21, 2015
Donald Trump Returns

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I had the big Miss Universe pageant, believe it or not, in Moscow two years ago. I got so many of the Russian leaders, and the top people in Russia. I mean, honestly, these are people that are looking to do things.”
- Oct 6, 2015

Savage Nation (via Huffington Post), Jan 18, 2017
TRUMP: I Met Putin, 'Got Along With Him Great'

(retrieved 7/16/18)
starts at 6:09

“I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago – Miss Universe contest – which is a big, incredible event, and incredible success.”
- May 5, 2016

Fox News (via, May 5, 2016
Special Report With Bret Baier, FOX News, May 5, 2016

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“There are few things better than receiving a sensational gift from someone you admire – and that’s what I’ve received from you [Aras Agalarov]. You made my birthday a truly special event by your thoughtfulness – not to mention your remarkable talent. I’m rarely at a loss for words, but right now I can only say how much I appreciate your friendship and to thank you for this fantastic gift. This is one birthday that I will always remember.”
- June 17, 2016

CNN, July 31, 2018
The Trump Tower meeting: A timeline

(retrieved 8/28/18)

Aras Agalarov is a Russian real estate tycoon, close business associate of Vladimir Putin, and personal friend of Trump’s who worked with Trump to produce the 2013 Miss Universe pageant on November 9, 2013, in Moscow. Agalarov and his son, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, negotiated with Trump to build Trump Tower Moscow and were instrumental in setting up the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

#DonaldTrump 11/9/13: "I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room." » #Trump 5/11/17: "I have nothing to do with Russia…no loans, no nothing." Click To Tweet


July 2016 - 2020

Donald Trump on Russia Now
“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails…because Putin likes me.”
“For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”
“In order to try and deflect the horror and stupidity of the Wikileakes disaster, the Dems said maybe it is Russia dealing with Trump. Crazy!”
“If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton‘s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
“I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia… I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.”
July 27, 2016 -

CBS4 Miami interview

CBS4 News, July 27, 2016
CBS4 News Exclusive: Trump Denies Ties To Russia

(retrieved 7/12/18)

“Zero, I mean I will tell you right now, zero, I have nothing to do with Russia… I built an unbelievable company but if you look there you’ll see there’s nothing in Russia

“I will tell you this — Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press…

“No, I have nothing to do with Russia, John. How many times do I have say that? Are you a smart man? I have nothing to with Russia, I have nothing to do with Russia. And even—for anything. What do I have to do with Russia? You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida… I sold it to a Russian for $100 million. I guess probably I sell condos to Russians, OK?… I told you, other than normal stuff—I buy a house if I sold it to a Russian. I have nothing to do with Russia

“We were doing Miss Universe 4 or 5 years ago in Russia… And there were developers in Russia that wanted to put a lot of money into developments in Russia. And they wanted us to do it. But it never worked out… we decided not to do it.”
July 27, 2016 -

American Presidency Project, July 27, 2016
News Conference in Doral, Florida

(retrieved 7/16/18)
starts at 0:16

“No [I do not owe any money to Russian individuals and institutions]. Not. The primary thing I did with Russia — I bought a house in Palm Beach at a bankruptcy. It was a bankrupt, you know, person. I bought it from the banks. I bought it for about $40 million. I sold it for $100 million to a Russian. That was probably five years ago. And that was primarily it
“Will I sell condos to Russians on occasion? Probably. I mean I do that. I have a lot of condos. I do that. But I have no relationship to Russia whatsoever.”
July 31, 2016 -

ABC News, July 31, 2016
'This Week' Transcript: Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden, and Ret. Gen. John Allen

(retrieved 7/16/18)
starts at 3:53

“As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, China

“So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is — it is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”
Sept 26, 2016 -

Washington Post, Sept 26, 2016
The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript, annotated

(retrieved 7/16/18)
“But I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia. I know – I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia… I have no loans with Russia.”
Oct 9, 2016 -

Second 2016 Presidential Debate

New York Times, Oct. 10, 2016
Transcript of the Second Debate

(retrieved 7/16/18)
starts at 1:09

“[I’m] no [Putin] puppet. You’re the puppet… [Hillary Clinton] has no idea whether it is Russia [who interfered in our election], China or anybody else… Our country has no idea

“By Russia or anybody else [I condemn interference in the election]… Of course I condemn, of course I condemn – I don’t know Putin… I never met Putin. This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
Oct 19, 2016 -

Third 2016 Presidential Debate

ABC News, Oct 20, 2016
Full transcript: Third 2016 presidential debate

(retrieved 7/16/18)
starts at 27:49

“I have nothing to do with Russia, folks. I’ll give you a written statement. Nothing to do.”
Oct 24, 2016 -

NBC News, Oct. 24, 2016
Trump: 'I Have Nothing to Do With Russia, Folks'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I think [the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russian interfered in our election is] public relations, frankly… Hacking is very hard to determine who did what. OK? You know that. People are hacking all over the place and nobody knows. They don’t know if it’s Russia. They can’t guarantee it’s Russia. And it may be. I mean, it may be Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. [Hillary Clinton] likes to put the narrative about Donald Trump with Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t know money. I don’t have deals in Russia. I don’t know Putin.”
Oct 27, 2016 -
“The way Hillary Clinton talks about Putin. She’s always said she has no idea, but she’s always saying — Wikileak, it’s Russia, and Donald Trump — I have nothing to do with Russia. She said maybe Donald Trump is involved in projects with the Russians. The answer’s no, no. But what she does, she says Donald Trump and Russia. Look, look, she speaks so badly of Putin, nuclear country, she speaks so badly, I say — and she uses it to keep trying to get votes.”
Oct 27, 2016 -

Campaign rally in Springfield, Ohio

C-SPAN, Oct 27, 2016
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Rally in Springfield, Ohio

(retrieved 7/12/18)

November 8, 2016: Donald Trump wins 2016 Presidential election

“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe [Russia] interfered [in the election]… I think [the intelligence community’s conclusion was politically motivated].”
Dec 7, 2016 -

Time (via Politico), Dec 7, 2016
Trump: I don't believe Russia interfered with the election

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“No, I don’t believe that [U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the election] at all. I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why, and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.”
Dec 11, 2016 -

Fox News (via Politico), Dec 11, 2016
Trump: Reports of Russian hacking 'ridiculous'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
“[With respect to Russia sanctions over election interference] I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security that we need.”
Dec 28, 2016 -

NBC News, Dec 28, 2016
Trump on Russia Sanctions: 'We Ought to Get on With Our Lives'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I just want [our intelligence agencies] to be sure [Russia hacked the election] because it’s a pretty serious charge. [With respect to Iraq] if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. So I want them to be sure. I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
Dec 31, 2016 -

New York Times, Dec 28, 2016
Trump Promises a Revelation on Hacking

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
“So I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia… I have no loans with Russia at all. And I thought that was important to put out. I certified that. So I have no deals, I have no loans and I have no dealings. We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. So I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.”
Jan 11, 2017 -

New York Times, Jan 11, 2017
Donald Trump’s News Conference: Full Transcript and Video

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia.”
“No [there were no contacts between me or anyone in the Trump campaign with Russia leading up to and during the the campaign]. Not at all.”
Feb 16, 2017 -

ABC News, Feb 16, 2017
Good Morning America tweet

(retrieved 2/13/19)
quote starts at beginning
“Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia, haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn’t, I just have nobody to speak to. I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election — I told you this — and he called me on the inauguration, and a few days ago. We had a very good talk… I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”
Feb 16, 2017 -

White House, Feb. 16, 2017
Remarks by President Trump in Press Conference

(retrieved 7/12/18)
starts at 40:18, second quote starts at 1:03:02

“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
May 10, 2017 -


”New, ”May

(retrieved ”7/12/18″)
“I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever. I don’t have property in Russia — a lot of people thought I owned office buildings in Moscow. I don’t have property in Russia… I’m not involved with Russia. I have had dealings over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. I had the Miss Universe pageant, which I owned for quite a while. I had it in Moscow a long time ago. But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia. And I have a certified letter, just so you understand… it says: ‘I am not involved in Russia.’ No loans, no nothing.”
May 11, 2017 -

NBC News (via Real Clear Politics), May 11, 2017
President Trump's Full Interview With Lester Holt: Firing Of James Comey

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

In response to a Washington Post report that Trump shared highly classified information with to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in their White House meeting on May 10.1Washington Post, May 15, 2017
Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador
retrieved 7/12/18

“I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t.

“They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years…

“I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia. The gentleman that you mentioned, with his son, two nice people. But basically, they brought the Miss Universe pageant to Russia to open up, you know, one of their jobs. Perhaps the convention center where it was held. It was a nice evening, and I left. I left, you know, I left Moscow. It wasn’t Moscow, it was outside of Moscow.”
July 19, 2017 -

New York Times, July 19, 2017
Excerpts From The Times’s Interview With Trump

(retrieved 7/20/18)
“I didn’t know [Putin]. There was nobody to collude with.”
July 16, 2018 -

Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit

White House, July 16, 2018
Remarks by President Trump and President Putin of the Russian Federation in Joint Press Conference

(retrieved 7/17/18)
starts at 25:51

“I have nothing to do with Russia. I never did… I have nothing to do with Russia. And I think you know that…

“I have been far tougher on Russia than any President in many, many years. Maybe ever.”
July 20, 2018 -

“I’ve nothing to do with Russia. Nothing to do with Russia.”
Sept 7, 2018 -

The White House, Sept. 7, 2018
Remarks by President Trump in Press Gaggle Aboard Air Force One

(retrieved 9/9/18)
“Probably [Putin] is [involved in assassinations and poisonings], yeah. Probably. I mean, I don’t — But I rely on them, it’s not in our country…

“Do you really think I’d call Russia to help me with an election? Give me a break. They wouldn’t be able to help me at all. Call Russia. It’s so ridiculous.”
Oct 11, 2018 -

“So Michael Cohen…put out a statement talking about a project [Trump Tower Moscow], which was essentially, I guess, more or less of an option that we were looking at in Moscow. Everybody knew about it. It was written about in newspapers. It was a well-known project. It was during the early part of ’16 and, I guess, even before that. It lasted a short period of time

“I decided ultimately not to do it. There would be nothing wrong if I did do it. I was running my business while I was campaigning. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?”
Nov 29, 2018 -

New York Times, Nov 29, 2018
Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure

(retrieved 1/14/19)
“Oh, I get it!… I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail. Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!”

In response to public reaction to emerging reports that Trump continued to negotiate with Russians to build Trump Tower Moscow during the general election.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!”
“[Whether I have worked for Russia is] the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked… I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else– any other — probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents.”
Jan 12, 2019 -

CNN, Jan 13, 2019
Trump calls question on whether he ever worked for Russia 'insulting'

(retrieved 1/14/19)
quote starts at beginning
“I never worked for Russia and you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax.”
Jan 14, 2019 -
“So let me tell you about about Trump Tower Moscow. This was a very unimportant deal. This was a very unimportant deal… I didn’t care. That deal was not important. It was essentially a letter of intent or an option. I’m not even sure that they had a site. And if you look at where that was sent to, that was a Michael Cohen thing. If you look, I always say, Why don’t you bring this up, to Jay Sekulow, good guy. I think it was sent to almost like a public address for Moscow. If you take a look at it. Take a good solid look. The original letter or something was sent. They didn’t even have anybody to send it to. But that deal is just like other deals. I was doing other deals. I was running for president, but I was also running a business

“I would say [the latest 2016 conversation I had about it] was early to middle of the year. Now, I don’t know that Cohen didn’t go a little bit longer than that. I don’t think it would be much longer. But then he could have come back to me and said, ‘Listen, I put it together.’ Because that stuff happens. You know, you think a deal — I was running for president, I was doing really well. The last thing I cared about was building a building…

“That wasn’t business. Peter, that wasn’t business… I had no money invested. It was a letter of intent, or option. It was a free option. It was a nothing. And I wasn’t doing anything. I don’t consider that even business. And frankly, that wasn’t even on my radar. If you take a look at that, take a look at the deal. There was no money put up. There was no transfer. I don’t think they had a location. I’m not even sure if they had a location…

“My point is this — It was a free option to look at a deal, to look at deals. That was not like, ‘I’m going to buy a property in Moscow. I’m going to do — or I’m building a building in Moscow.’ Now, I would have had every right to do a deal. That’s what I did. That’s what I did…

“But the way I view it is early in the year to middle of the year, no interest. I had very little interest in the first place, and again, I viewed it as a free option. It may have been a letter of intent. I don’t know exactly what it was called. But it was unimportant. And you know what was very important to me? Running for president. And doing well. But I was running a business… I don’t want to give up a year and a half of my life, not do anything, run for president, then have to go back and say, you know, ‘I could have kept running my business.’…

“Russia didn’t help me. Russia did not help me. There was no collusion. There was none of that… I had a potential, a deal that frankly wasn’t even a deal. It was literally — I viewed it as an option. But maybe it was called a letter of intent. Something like that.”
Jan 31, 2019 -

New York Times, Feb 1, 2019
Excerpts From Trump’s Interview With The Times

(retrieved 2/1/19)
“The Russia thing is a hoax. I have been tougher on Russia than any president, maybe ever. But than any president… There’s been no president that has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump… There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.”
Feb 3, 2019 -
“If you tell a joke, if you are sarcastic, if you are having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena, and if you say something like, ‘Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton‘s emails! Please, Russia, please! Please get us the emails! Please!’ So everybody is having a good time, I’m laughing, we are all having fun. And then that fake CNN and others say, ‘He asked Russia to go get the emails. Horrible.’ I mean saw it like two weeks ago. I’m watching and they are talking about one of the points. ‘He asked Russia for the emails.’ These people are sick. And I am telling you, they know the game. They know the game. And they play it dirty, dirtier than anybody has ever played the game. Dirtier than it has ever been played.”
March 2, 2019 -

C-SPAN, March 2, 2019
President Trump at Conservative Political Action Conference

(retrieved 3/2/19)
quote starts at beginning
“Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist.”
“Russia did not help me get elected…I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all…
“There is nobody — ever — been more tough or difficult for Russia than Donald Trump. Now I have to tell you this, I put sanctions on Russia at a level that nobody’s seen before. Nobody wants to write about it. With all of that I want to get along with Russia.”
May 30, 2019 -

Vox, May 30, 2019
Trump finally admits Russia helped get him elected

(retrieved June 1, 2019)
quote starts at beginning
“It was the G-8 for a long time, and now it’s the G-7, and a lot of the time we talk about, we talk about Russia. We’re talking about Russia because I’ve got to numerous G-7 meetings. And I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in, so he wanted Russia out. But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in, it should be the G-8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia. So I could certainly see it being the G-8 again, and if somebody would make that motion I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably. But as you know most of the time it was the G-8, it included Russia, and President Obama didn’t want Russia in, because he got outsmarted. Well, that’s not the way it really should work.”
Aug 20, 2019 -

CNBC, Aug 20, 2019
Trump renews call for Russia to join G-7 group

(retrieved 8/26/19)
quote starts at beginning
“The Russian collusion was a scam. You can ask Putin. Nobody has been rougher on Russia than Donald Trump, okay? Now, with that being said, it would be great to get along with Russia. And we will get along with Russia, because it’s smart. But nobody has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”
Oct 2, 2019 -

White House, Oct 2, 2019
Remarks by President Trump and President Niinistö of the Republic of Finland in Joint Press Conference

(retrieved 10/2/19)
quote starts at 1:42
“Frankly, [Russian bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan is] an issue that many people said was fake news... a lot of people said it’s a fake issue…

“I have never discussed it with [Putin], no. I would. I have no problem with it…

“It never reached my desk. You know why? Because they didn’t think – intelligence, they didn’t think it was real. I wouldn’t mind – if it reached my desk, I would have done something about it.”
July 29, 2020 -

“Well, I think we have to look at it very seriously if [Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned by Russia], and I think we will. There’s nobody been tougher on Russia than I have. We get along…

“I don’t know exactly what happened. I think it’s — it’s tragic. It’s terrible. It shouldn’t happen. We haven’t had any proof yet, but I will take a look…

“It is interesting that everybody is always mentioning Russia. And I don’t mind you mentioning Russia, but I think probably China, at this point, is a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia because the things that China is doing are far worse, if you take a look at what’s happening with the world… But you never ask about China; you’re always asking about Russia…

“We’ve taken stronger action against Russia than any other country in the world, as you know. I’ll tell you, President Putin would tell you that right now. But the fact that I — the fact that I get along with Russia… I do get along with — with President Putin. But I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, by far.”
Sept 4, 2020 -

White House, Sept 4, 2020
Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing | September 4, 2020

(retrieved 9/5/20)

#DonaldTrump 10/6/15: "❲I was in Moscow two years ago. I got so many of the Russian leaders, and the top people in Russia." » #Trump 10/27/16: "I have nothing to do with Russia." Click To Tweet

Context: The Trump/Russia Connection

Donald Trump has repeatedly sought business in Russia at least far back as 1986. Trump has visited Russia multiple times beginning in 1987; his most recent visit before becoming President was when he held the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. In the 2000’s Donald Trump Jr. became a regular visitor to Russia as well.2New York Times, Jan 11, 2016
For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia
retrieved 7/12/18
3Washington Post, Nov 2, 2017
A history of Donald Trump’s business dealings in Russia
retrieved 7/12/18

Trump has made multiple attempts to build Trump Tower Moscow, beginning in the 1980’s. In recent years, including while in Moscow in 2013 and into the 2016 election, he negotiated building the tower with his personal friend and business associate Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch and close Putin associate who worked with Trump to host the pageant.4RT (Russia Today), Nov 9, 2013
US ‘Miss Universe’ billionaire plans Russian Trump Tower
retrieved 7/12/18
5Real Estate Weekly, Nov 12, 2013
Hotel trio aims to bring Manhattan to Moscow
retrieved 7/12/18
According to Agalarov those plans fell apart after Western sanctions were imposed in 2014 and the Russian economy tanked.6Washington Post, July 18, 2017
Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified
retrieved 6/24/18
Negotiations to build Trump Tower Moscow continued into the 2016 election, however, which Trump did not disclose to the public.7Washington Post, Aug 27, 2017
Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president
retrieved 7/12/18

Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov were also instrumental in the June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign and a woman who was described to Trump Jr. a “Russian government attorney” that had campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.8New York Times, July 16, 2017
A Russian Developer Helps Out the Kremlin on Occasion. Was He a Conduit to Trump?
retrieved 7/12/18
9Vice, April 28, 2018
Trump Accepted An Oligarch’s “Fantastic” Gift Right After Don Jr. Met That Russian “Informant”
retrieved 7/12/18
10New York Times, July 11, 2017
Read the Emails on Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting
retrieved 6/24/18

Trump has attempted several other business ventures with Russia as well, including the launching of Trump Vodka in Russia in 2007 (which did not take hold), a reality show about a Russian mixed martial arts fighter in 2008 (which was never produced), the aforementioned Miss Universe pageant.

In the 2000’s many wealthy Russians were buying Trump properties and properties bearing his name in New York and Florida, often at highly inflated prices.11New York Times, Jan 11, 2016
For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia
retrieved 7/12/18
12Washington Post, Nov 2, 2017
A history of Donald Trump’s business dealings in Russia
retrieved 7/12/18

Here is a 2007 ad for Trump Vodka that was aimed at the Russian market:

Here is a 2013 music video by Emin Agalarov featuring a cameo by Trump:

Here is a November 9, 2016 Instagram post by Emin Agalarov showing him and his father with Trump:

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Donald Trump Jr., Sept. 15, 200813eTurboNews, Sept 15, 2008
Executive Talk: Donald Trump Jr. bullish on Russia and few emerging markets
retrieved 7/12/18

“We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia… We just go there all the time.”

Eric Trump, August, 201314WBUR, May 5, 2017
A Day (And A Cheeseburger) With President Trump
retrieved 7/12/18
(Eric Trump denies he said this.15Charlotte Observer, May 14, 2017
Eric Trump said Russians financed golf courses, author insists
retrieved 7/12/18

“[Trump] used to call me when I was a columnist and say, ‘I was just in Russia, the girls have no morals, you gotta get out there.’”

– Former New York Daily News gossip columnist and E! host A.J. Benza, 200116Daily Beast, May 5, 2017
Donald Trump’s Craziest Interview Ever: ‘Any Girl You Have, I Can Take From You’
retrieved 7/12/18

#DonaldTrump 5/5/16: "I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago…incredible success." » #Trump 7/19/17: "They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing." Click To Tweet