“I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because I’ve stayed away,” he repeated at a Wednesday press conference.
Trump’s ties to Russia were under the microscope throughout the presidential campaign and since then intelligence agencies concluded Russia meddled in Trump’s win.
While Trump does not have real estate in Russia, links do exist. Here’s a look at Trump’s history with Russia.
Russian business ties
Trump has said he intends to strengthen U.S. relations with Russia, a sentiment he repeated on Wednesday.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that’s called an asset not a liability. I don’t know if I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin – I hope I do – but there’s a good chance I won’t.”
WATCH: Donald Trump: ‘If Putin likes me, I consider that an asset’
But Trump has been trying to make his mark in Russia for decades.
Trump pursued a major project in Moscow after meeting Russian diplomat Yuri Dubinin in 1986, even flying to Russia to hold meetings with Soviet leaders, the Financial Times reported.
“One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government,” the president-elect wrote in his book, Trump: The Art of the Deal.
The hotel never happened. However, since 1996, Trump has filed to register multiple trademarks in Russia including: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, CNN reports.
In 2008, Trump’s son Donald Jr. told a real estate conference that Russians heavily invest in Trump properties.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said, as reported in a trade paper on his speech.
“We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
In 2013, Trump brought the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. He tweeted an indirect invite to Putin, asking “will he become my new best friend?”
Around the time of the pageant Trump was rumoured to again be in talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
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Toronto’s Trump Tower was developed by Talon International, run by two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs, as reported by Toronto Life.
And in an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times, foreign policy analyst Max Boot wrote Trump’s relations with Russia run deep.
“Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him,” Boot wrote.
Trump has made it clear he’d like to be friends with Putin; his nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, already is.
The Exxon Mobil CEO was even handed the Order of Friendship by Putin in 2013.
Last year Paul Manafort resigned as chairman of Trump’s campaign after reports alleged that a pro-Russia group had earmarked millions of dollars in cash payments for Manafort.
Another former Trump adviser, Carter Page, stepped away from the president-elect’s campaign after he was investigated by U.S. intelligence officials for allegedly meeting with senior Russian officials and discussing lifting U.S. sanctions should Trump become president.
Trump ally Roger Stone was accused by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta of having advanced warning that Clinton and co.’s emails — which were suspected to be hacked by Russia — would be released.