In a freewheeling interview with the New York Times, President Donald Trump suggested that he didn't need to disclose that he was trying to negotiate a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow at the same time he was running for president.
When asked by Times reporter Peter Baker if he felt that he'd lied to the American public when he said he had no business dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Trump replied to say that a major deal to build a massive Trump-branded skyscraper in the Russian capital shouldn't be seen as a business deal.
"That wasn’t business," Trump said. "Peter, that wasn’t business."
"Isn’t that misleading to say you weren’t pursuing business there, right?" Baker pressed again.
"I had no money invested. It was a letter of intent, or option. It was a free option. It was a nothing. And I wasn’t doing anything. I don’t consider that even business. And frankly, that wasn’t even on my radar. If you take a look at that, take a look at the deal. There was no money put up. There was no transfer. I don’t think they had a location. I’m not even sure if they had a location."
In fact, according to a letter of intent signed by Trump himself in late 2015, the proposed Tower would have been located in Moscow City, a major commercial district of the Russian capital that is home to some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers.