U.S. politicians ask whether Russian money may have funded Trump's golf courses

I to this day can't tell you whether a lot of those things ¿ I just don't have a strong view as to whether they are false or true per se' Simpson told the members of Congress referring to the dossier's most salacious claims

The US House Intelligence Committee has released a transcript of a sworn testimony by Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter whose firm Fusion GPS conducted research on Trump's campaign, which resulted in a dossier about his links to Russian Federation.

Mr Simpson, who works for consulting firm Fusion GPS, was asked to research then presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015/16. A transcript detailing Simpson's testimony was released Thursday.

In the course of the questioning, Mr Simpson was asked if he believed there was any Russian money involved with Mr Trump's golf courses in Ireland and Scotland.

The co-founder of the firm that produced the so-called Trump dossier told the House Intel Committee that early on in his investigation he saw "patterns of activity" from the Trump Organization that "might be suggestive of money laundering", including dealings with Russian ties. "But in any event, we did look at some Kushner stuff and specifically focused on the project in Jersey City, I think partly because Trump had a position in that project", Simpson said.

"Various [Russian] criminals were buying [Trump] properties", said Simpson, identifying one by the underworld name Taiwanchik.

"So there's a couple of...the big condo tower deals offshore, outside the United States, I think both of those are in bankruptcy now, Mr Trump is no longer associated with them".

"We also increasingly saw that Mr. Trump's business career had evolved over the prior decade into a lot of projects in overseas places, particularly in the former Soviet Union, that were very opaque, and that he had made a number of trips to Russian Federation, but said he'd never done a business deal there", Simpson said.

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"That's exactly my point, is that if we knew that Donald Trump was working with the Russian mafia to fund Doonbeg in Ireland, then there's no way he would be President".

Mr Simpson's findings are based on his suspicions based around Mr Trump's financial statements filed in Ireland and the United Kingdom and the property developer's alleged connections with Russian mafia figures. And these golf courses are just, you know, sinks.

GOP Representative Tom Rooney also went on to say that "the story about [Trump] financing Doonbeg in Ireland through money that we can't really trace but has sort of the fingerprints of Russian mobsters" was "fascinating".

But during the testimony, Republicans questioned whether the allegations Simpson was making actually had evidence to back them up. "So, you know, if you're familiar with Donald Trump's finances and the litigation over whether he's really a billionaire, you know, there's good reason to believe he doesn't have enough money to do this and that he would have had to have outside financial support for these things".

"I'd say, in general, we were the architects of the research and we made most of the decisions about what to look for and where to look", he said.

He said: "A lot of what I do is analyse whether things make sense and whether they can be explained". However, he added that "on their face" the financials of the golf course do not "show Russian involvement".

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