Trump Campaign Chief Dodges Question On Trump’s Financial Ties With Russia

Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort said Wednesday morning that Trump does not have business interests in Russia, but his answers to questions about Trump’s relationship to Russia during an interview with CBS’ “This Morning” were vague and left unanswered some of the remaining questions about the extent of Trump’s financial ties with Russian interests.

“Trump tweeted yesterday that he has zero investments in Russia, but does Russia have investments in Trump? Would Mr. Trump be willing to release his tax returns to provide transparency on this issue?” CBS’ Norah O’Donnell asked Manafort Wednesday morning.

“Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit, and he will not be releasing them,” Manafort said in response. “It has nothing to do with Russia. It has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing processes.”

O’Donnell then followed up to ask, “Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?”

“That’s what he said,” Manafort replied. “That’s obviously what the — our position is.”

Earlier in the interview, CBS’ Charlie Rose asked Manafort if he believed Russia was responsible for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s emails and whether Russian hackers did so to influence the election.

“Can you tell us what you know about the relationship and what the campaign knows and what Donald Trump believes?” Rose asked.

“We have no relationship,” Manafort responded.

He then blamed discussions about Russia’s involvement in hacking the DNC on the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“This is an absurd attempt by the Clinton campaign to try to get the focus off of what the real issue is. The real issue isn’t even the Democratic National Committee’s server being hacked,” he said. “The real issue is her server that was sitting in a closet in her home in New York that was unsecured. So you can imagine that if it was so easy to do the DNC server, what the likelihood is that how many countries have hacked into that server.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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