The latest twist in the ongoing saga of Donald Trump's relationship with Russia may be one of the most explosive yet, and it allegedly came straight from the president's inner-most circle. Eric Trump allegedly told a journalist that the Trump National Golf Club Charlotte was funded by Russia, which could further complicate the president's possible foreign conflicts of interest (Bustle has reached out to the Trump Organization for comment). Although this claim is currently unsubstantiated by the Trump family, it still might not have too much of an impact on President Trump's business or political career if it's proven true.
According to Boston NPR affiliate station WBUR, sports journalist James Dodson interviewed Eric Trump about three years ago during a trip to the then-newly opened Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only a few years after the Great Recession, when investor confidence was still relatively low, the Trumps had bought and promised a grand renovation to the old golf course on the outskirts of Charlotte. Dodson wondered how, and got the chance to ask Eric Trump about it.
"'Well, we don't rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,'" Dodson claimed Eric Trump said when he asked the mogul's son about how they managed to finance the $100 million renovations to the club. "'We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.'"
The scope of Eric Trump's alleged comment is as yet unclear — the implication could be that all the funding for all Trump golf properties in recent years is funded by Russia or simply that the majority of this one project was paid for by Russian money. These claims though, if true, might still not do much to Trump's reputation, corporate or political.
Trump's reported business ties to Russia have been well documented in the media over the last several months, even though he repeatedly tried to deny the claims, saying he has "nothing to do with Russia." Yet, Trump still hasn't faced any significant political or business repercussions because of these contradicting claims, and that doesn't seem likely to change. This allegation from Eric Trump might be the latest straw on the camel's back, but it doesn't seem like it will be the one to break it.
The only real way that Americans will learn the full extent of Trump's business relationships, and whether there is anything potentially illicit going in, is by examining Trump's full tax returns. The full mystery of the Trump family's alleged relationship with Russia can't be unlocked without those documents, though comments like the one Eric Trump reportedly said could slowly fill in some of the gaps.