Trump's long history with Russia just got a lot more complicated

Questions about links between President Donald Trump and Russians seeking his election no longer depend on anonymous sources generating what Trump calls “fake news.”

The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. now admits he gathered his brother-in-law and his father’s 2016 campaign chairman to learn damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. The younger Trump, who may face an inquiry over the meeting and has retained a lawyer to manage the situation, says he did not know the name of the person he was meeting before he attended the appointment.

Combined with statements and actions by the president and numerous associates, Trump Jr.’s grudging acknowledgment fills out an extraordinary, on-the-record picture of the U.S. president’s financial entanglement and political deference toward Russia, one of America’s oldest adversaries.

It begins in 1987, before the Soviet Union crumbled, when Trump mused in “The Art of the Deal” about building a hotel “across the street from the Kremlin,” in partnership with the Soviet government. The hotel never got built, but Trump didn’t give up on Moscow.

By 2008, Trump Jr. told a real estate conference that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” That same year, a Russian businessman paid the senior Trump $95 million for a Florida mansion — more than twice what Trump paid for it four years earlier.

In 2013, Trump staged a beauty pageant in Moscow and talked of friendship with Vladimir Putin. “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next,” he tweeted.

In 2014, a prominent golf journalist says, son Eric Trump boasted that despite tighter U.S. credit, “We have all the funding we need out of Russia” for golf-course projects. Eric Trump denies saying that.

After entering the presidential race, the senior Trump got foreign policy advice from Lt. General Michael Flynn — who received $45,000 from a Russia propaganda outlet for a December 2015 speech where he sat with Putin at dinner. Trump later named Flynn national security advisor.

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