Michael Cohen explains Trump’s golf business to Democrats: No need for ‘Russian money’

by WorldTribune Staff, May 21, 2019

Michael Cohen, former attorney and real estate adviser to President Donald Trump, told the House Intelligence Committee that he is unaware of any Russian money being involved in Trump Organization enterprises.

The committee on May 20 released transcripts of Cohen’s two days of testimony in February and March.

Trump International Golf Links in Scotland. / Alanatabz photo / Wikimedia Commons

The committee need only look at Trump’s golf courses and the way he structures them, Cohen said, to understand why Russian or any other foreign money was not needed.

Members of the committee, headed by frequent Trump critic Rep. Adam Schiff, pressed Cohen on whether any of Trump’s collection of private golf course and clubs were financed with Russian money.

“Now, I don’t think you’re going to find Russian money in order to do these golf courses because he didn’t pay a lot for the properties. And then what he does is he creates the golf course and then sells memberships. And a membership, say, $50,000, but he’ll sell 500 of them, and that more than pays for the entire golf course, plus what he spent in terms of building the clubhouse.

“And then basically, you know, they foot the bill by the monthly chit that they’re required to pay, whether it’s with food or with their membership. So it’s not as if you need Russian money in order to pull something like that.”

Schiff, California Democrat, in February announced the committee would investigate the personal finances of Trump and his family, with an eye toward Moscow.

Schiff said, “The President’s actions and posture towards Russia during the campaign, transition, and administration have only heightened fears of foreign financial or other leverage over President Trump.”

Democrats “are eager to show that Trump is beholden to Russians financially,” Rowan Scaborough noted in a May 21 report for The Washington Times. “Without evidence, Joe Lockhart, Bill Clinton’s press secretary, said on CNN that Russians bailed out Mr. Trump in the 1990s. There have been no public reports of such an arrangement.”

There was also no evidence of Russian-Trump money in the Mueller report.

During Cohen’s testimony before the intel panel, Rep. John Ratcliffe, Texas Republican, asked, “Does Donald Trump have any financial investments or interests in Russian banks?”

“I’m not aware,” Cohen answered.

Ratcliffe asked: “[Did] the Trump Organization ever receive personal or business loans from a Russian bank or from individuals connected with the Russian Government?”

“I’m not aware,” Cohen answered.

Ratcliffe also asked, “To the best of your knowledge, has anyone connected to the Trump campaign or transition team failed to report or sought to obscure any financial relationships with Russians or Russian banks?”

Cohen said, “l’m still not aware.”

Finally, Cohen was asked “are there any foreign investors in the Trump Organization?”

He answered, “I don’t believe so.”

Cohen this month began serving a three-year prison term for tax and campaign finance fraud.

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