Eric Trump said family golf courses attracted Russian funding, author claims
Three years ago he allegedly said the Trump Organization had all the funding we need from Russia and Donald Trump tossed off that he had access to $100m
Eric Trump said three years ago the Trump Organization had all the funding we need out of Russia for its golf course projects, according to an author recounting the story of a 2014 meeting with Donald Trump and his son.
The author also said Donald Trump sort of tossed off that he had access to $100m.
The comments prompted widespread interest in the media and online. Two congressional committees and the FBI are investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign aides and Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election. US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to influence that vote in Trumps favour, in part by hacking emails belonging to the Democratic National Comittee (DNC).
Many observers believe Trumps tax returns which he refuses, against 40 years of precedent, to release will contain evidence of financial relationships with Russian sources. The president has repeatedly denied any such links, despite the existence of statements suggesting otherwise made before his run for office.
The golf writer, James Dodson, was speaking to WBUR-FM, a Boston-area national public radio station, on Friday. The co-author of Arnold Palmers autobiography described a visit to Trump National Golf Club Charlotte in North Carolina.
Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina, Dodson said. And when I first met him, I asked him you know, this is the journalist in me I said, What are you using to pay for these courses? And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100m.
Eric Trump, the presidents younger son who is now executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, was also present.
Dodson continued: So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off [to play], I said, Eric, whos funding? I know no banks because of the recession, the great recession have touched a golf course. You know, no ones funding any kind of golf construction. Its dead in the water the last four or five years.
And this is what he said. He said, Well, we dont rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia. I said, Really? And he said, Oh, yeah. Weve got some guys that really, really love golf, and theyre really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.
Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.
Donald Trump has strongly denied many such reported links and contacts. For example, shortly before his inauguration in January he tweeted: Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
In 2013, however, after hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, he told Real Estate Weekly the Russian market is attracted to me, I have a great relationship with many Russians. He also said almost all of the oligarchs were in the room at a party he threw.
On Sunday morning he pursued another tactic, writing on Twitter: When will the Fake Media ask about the Dems dealings with Russia & why the DNC wouldnt allow the FBI to check their server or investigate?
Trumps older son, Donald Jr, has also made mention of financial relationships in Russia. In 2008, speaking at a real estate conference, he said: We are looking all over the place, primarily Russia.
He also said: And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; 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, who has been widely criticized for the amount of time he spends on his own golf courses, spent this weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. On Saturday night, he tweeted: The reason I am staying in Bedminster, NJ, a beautiful community, is that staying in [New York City] is much more expensive and disruptive. Meetings!
A picture posted to Instagram by a club member appeared to show the president playing golf.
Dodson, meanwhile, recounted a meal of cheeseburgers and being enveloped in a bro hug by Trump, and said: You know, I liked the guy. I liked him. I mean, he was somebody youd like to play golf with.
He also recounted an exchange with Trump about Palmer, the great champion who died in 2016: He crossed one finger over the other and he said, Arnold and I are like that.
And I told Arnold that the next night at dinner and he laughed and said, Really, Shakespeare? Its more like this. And he crossed his hands and put them at his own throat.