According to AP, an attorney for Donald Trump said that there is no evidence in any of president Trump’s tax returns over the last ten years of any income from Russian sources – “with few exceptions.”
The caveat “few exceptions” leaves the door open a mile wide for possible money sourcing from Russia contributing to Trump, and does nothing to allay concerns that Trump’s businesses may have profited from possible connections to Russian oligarchs.
Some examples of Trump’s Russian and Ukrainian connections; roughly 20 years ago, Trump was renegotiating $1.8 billion in junk bonds for his Atlantic City resorts, and Trump Tower owed tons of money to German banks. When it came to selling the condominiums, as Debra Stotts, a sales agent who sold units in the tower, told Bloomberg, “We had big buyers from Russia and Ukraine and Kazakhstan.” Bloomberg reported, “a third of units sold on floors 76 through 83 by 2004 involved people or limited liability companies connected to Russia and neighboring states.”
In October 1998, Russia defaulted on $40 billion in domestic debt, prompting millionaires to invest in New York, including Trump World Tower, opened in 2001. Sam Kislin, a Ukrainian immigrant, provided a mortgage at Trump World Tower to Vasily Salygin, a future official of the Ukrainian Party of Regions linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Salygin served in that position, Paul Manafort was advising the party.
In 2008, Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased Trump’s Palm Beach mansion for $13 million more than the sale price of the most expensive Palm Beach mansion at that time. Although a Rybolovlev spokesman said later that he bought the property for his family’s trust, in 2008 Rybolovlev said it was a company investment, asserting: "This acquisition is simply an investment in real estate by one of the companies in which I have an interest." David Newman, a partner with Sills, Cummis & Gross in New York, commented that his team never found any evidence that Rybolovlev had performed any professional reviews of the property, adding, "If someone is paying $90-something million, more than anyone else has ever paid for a private residence, one would think they might look around and do a little due diligence, or even have an inspection.”
None of this may mean anything, but when Trump’s attorney leaves the door open by saying there were a “few exceptions,” that isn’t exactly reassuring.