- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
- A decade-old quote from Donald Trump Jr. resurfaced in a New York Times column over the weekend.
- “In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said during a conference in New York in 2008.
- The comment has taken on new meaning amid the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
A 2008 quote from President Donald Trump’s eldest son about his family’s assets resurfaced on Sunday in a New York Times op-ed article.
“In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said at a New York real-estate conference that year. “Say, in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo, and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Trump Jr.’s comment has taken on new meaning amid the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
The op-ed article, by Thomas Friedman, tears into Trump and his response to Russia’s election interference.
“President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy,” Friedman wrote.
While much of Friedman’s column was speculation, the decade-old quote from Trump Jr. sheds light on the Trump family’s past financial holdings, though it does not implicate the Trumps in any illegal activity.
Liberals have used Trump Jr.’s words to illustrate their belief that Russia may have leverage over Trump because of his previous business dealings in the country.
“My guess is what Trump is hiding has to do with money,” Friedman said. “It’s something about his financial ties to business elites tied to the Kremlin. They may own a big stake in him.”
‘It’s very clear that Russia meddled’
The Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling has not made public any evidence that Trump or members of his presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
Last week, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities that sought to sow political discord in the US in the run-up to the 2016 election.
The indictment forced the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to defend the intelligence community’s long-held assessment that Russia interfered.
“It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election,” Sanders said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“I think one of the places where you [reporters] seem to get very confused – and it seems to happen regularly – is the president hasn’t said that Russia didn’t meddle,” she added. “What he’s saying is it didn’t have an impact, and it certainly wasn’t with help from the Trump campaign.”
Trump, who has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” insists there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Trump said in a tweet last week. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”