Video excerpt of Brian Williams’ interview with Craig Unger, from his article in the New Republic, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” published 13 July 2017.
Once Trump owed 4 billion dollars to 70 American banks then the Russians helped him,… and the rest is history. pic.twitter.com/t1wXngqSTQ
— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) August 4, 2017
Unger’s research revealed Russian oligarchs and mafia clamoring to buy Trump properties in New York and Florida with many under FBI investigation for illegal gambling rings, prostitution and money laundering.
The “tower full of oligarchs,” as Bloomberg called it, became a model for Trump’s projects going forward. All he needed to do, it seemed, was slap the Trump name on a big building, and high-dollar customers from Russia and the former Soviet republics were guaranteed to come rushing in. Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians.
The impetus to buy anything with the Trump name on it dates back three decades, says Unger. Dirty cash from Russian crime syndicates along with the largesse of Russian real estate developers brought Trump out of financial ruin to host The Apprentice, gain traction as a business success and launch his presidential bid.
Whether Trump knew it or not, Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.