WASHINGTON – Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Friday that his tax returns from the past 10 years do not show any income from Russian entities or debt owned to Russians.
The exception was a $95 million a Russian billionaire paid for a Trump-owned estate in Florida in 2008 and $12.2 million in income associated with the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow.
The information comes in a March 8 letter that tax attorneys Sheri Dillon and William Nelson wrote to the president and that the White House released to the media Friday. Trump referenced the letter in a recent interview with NBC News, saying that he had forwarded it to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). He heads the Judiciary subcommittee investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s election.
“I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever,” he said in the Thursday interview. “I don’t have property in Russia. A lot of people thought I owned office buildings in Moscow. I don’t have property in Russia.”
Graham on Tuesday said Congress should investigate Trump’s businesses for potential Russian connections. Trump, unlike past presidents in modern-day era, has not released his tax returns to the public. Since the presidential campaign, he has said he might do so when an Internal Revenue Service audit is completed. The IRS has never confirmed or denied if an audit is ongoing. The IRS is not allowed to comment on audits.
In addition to the Florida estate and the beauty pageant, the lawyers note that Trump engaged in “ordinary course sales” over the past 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, condos, games of golf, and Trump-licensed products such as ties, mattresses and wine. They said that those amounts are “immaterial” and would not be identified as coming from Russian sources in his tax returns.
The attorneys, from the Philadelphia-based firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, did not release Trump’s tax returns or provide any other documents to back up their claims. The letter notes that Trump has an interest in more than 500 entities that all do business as The Trump Organizaton (TTO).
“Because you operate these businesses almost exclusively through sole proprietorships, S-corporations, and/or partnerships, your personal federal income taxes reflect income that is earned by these entities and interest that is paid or received by these entities, as well as income that you directly earned or interest that your paid or received,” the letter says.
The firm notes that it has has represented Trump and TTO since 2005.