Trump’s lawyers say he makes no money from Russia “with a few exceptions”
President Trump attempted to put to rest concerns over his business ties to Russia with a letter released by his own lawyers Friday.
The letter, signed by lawyers Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, said according to their analysis of Trump’s tax returns, Trump has no meaningful ties with Russia or Russian entities — “with a few exceptions.” Namely, those exceptions are a piece of property in Florida that Trump sold for $95 million to a Russian billionaire, and $12.2 million he made from a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
The Russian billionaire who bought Trump’s Florida property is Dmitry Rybolovlev, the AP reports, who made his fortune in potash, a mined mineral that is primarily used as fertilizer. Trump bought the 62,000 square foot property, the “Maison de L’Amitie,” for $41 million in 2005 and sold it to Rybolovelev in July 2008 for more than double what he paid. The sale was widely reported at the time, and Trump mentioned it on the campaign trail last summer.
The letter, which is dated March 8, emphasizes that Russians neither hold equity or debt investments in any entities held by Trump or The Trump Organization, but also acknowledged that it was likely that Russians “engaged in ordinary course sales of goods or services,” paying for things like “hotel rooms, rounds of golf, books or Trump-licensed products (e.g. ties, mattresses, wine, etc.).” The total sales of those products, the letter states, represent “immaterial” income for Trump and the entities he owns. It also only comments on Trump’s business dealings going back to 2005.
Dillon last publicly represented Trump standing in front of a table stacked with Manila envelops purported to contain the documents separating Trump from his real estate businesses, and handing management authority over to his sons Eric and Donald Jr.
Within hours of the letter on Russia coming to light, #withafewexceptions was trending on Twitter.