During a campaign rally Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads a statement made by Michelle Fields, on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wis.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty

Despite the evidence, Trump claims he ‘lightly looked at’ Moscow project

Few people use adverbs the way Donald Trump does. Earlier this month, for example, the day before the midterm elections, the president declared via Twitter, “Law enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any illegal voting.”

As we joked about at the time, some presidents may casually notify law enforcement, but not Donald J. Trump. He “strongly notifies” law enforcement.

This came to mind this morning reading a pair of the president’s tweets about the latest revelations from the Russia scandal.

“Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail.

“Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!”

I’m sure this wasn’t intended to be funny, but c’mon. While running for president, Trump and top members of his team invested considerable time and energy into a real-estate project in Moscow, which would’ve been one of the biggest deals of Trump’s career, and which included direct talks with Kremlin officials, even as Vladimir Putin was running a military intelligence operation to help put Trump in office. Trump and top members of his team would later lie about all of this.

The Republican president, however, would like us to believe he “lightly looked at doing a building somewhere.”

Potato, patato….

I was also struck by Trump’s insistence that he “put up zero money” for the project, as if this is a detail that makes him look better. It doesn’t.

When then-candidate Trump, months into his campaign, signed a letter of intent to pursue the Moscow project, the deal was supposed to be financed by a Russian bank called VTB.

As Rachel explained on the show last night, “It is a very large bank in Russia. It is state-run. It is also sanctioned by the government, so Americans aren’t allowed to do business with it.”

Trump sees this and boasts he “put up zero money,” but that only serves as a reminder of the entity that did put up the money. Why the president would want to renew interest in this detail is unclear.