A new report says that wealthy Russians have purchased almost $100 million in property at seven Trump-branded luxury towers in Florida.
During a press conference on Feb. 16, President Donald Trump denied speaking to people from Russia and said he had nothing to do with Russia, noted Reuters:
I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia, haven't made a phone call to Russia in years, don't speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn't. I just have nobody to speak to.
Reuters reported on March 17 that corporate records, public records and interviews show that 63 people who have Russian passports or addresses have purchased at least $98.4 million worth of units in Trump-branded buildings in Florida.
The Russian elite customers do not include people in the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, noted Reuters, nor is there any wrongdoing by the president or his real estate company.
The Trump White House referred Reuters to the Trump Organization where the chief legal officer, Alan Garten, told the news service: "I can say definitively that this is an overblown story that is media-created. I’ve been around this company and know the company’s dealings."
Six of the seven Trump-branded properties are part of a licensing deal that Trump made with developers Michael and Gil Dezer, who operate buildings in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.
The seventh property is in Hollywood, Florida. Trump reportedly has a licensing deal for Trump Hollywood with BH3, an investment fund.
In response to the Reuters' report, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California suggested Trump's unreleased tax returns and alleged Russian dealings were cause for concern: "While the president has denied having invested in Russia, he has said little or nothing about Russian investment in his businesses and properties in the United States or elsewhere. ... This should concern all Americans and is yet another reason why his refusal to release his tax returns should be met with considerable skepticism and concern."
In a separate report, Reuters said that Republican congressional leaders have refused to create a select committee or appoint a special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russia's influence in the 2016 election.
However, there are three congressional committees doing their own investigations: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee have refused to start investigations into possible Russian tampering of the 2016 election.