Donald Trump admitted that he does in fact have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, in newly surfaced a 2013 video recorded by MSNBC during the Miss Universe contest in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, which asked very specifically about pageant owner’s relationship to the Russian strongman.
Trump's answer below does not appear on Mother Jones Magazine's October 5th, comprehensive timeline of the Trumps in Russia.
The Republican nominee then said that he has a relationship with Putin - twice, and with emphasis - then proceeded to trash President Obama.
Trump undeniably praised Russia's President as "very brilliant" for his handling of Syria specifically, and praised Putin's leadership.
The interview was conducted by Thomas Roberts of MSNBC in Russia in 2013 who asked:
"Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin? A conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?"
In Trump’s own words (with transcript below) here is his emphatic answer about his relationship with Vladimir Putin.
Here’s a transcript of Donald Trump's 57 seconds long answer author's emphasis in italics:
"I do have a relationship."
"Annnnd, Ahh-ee can tell you that he's very interested in what we're doing here today. He's probably very interested in what you and I are saying today, and he's going to be seeing it in some form."
"But I do have a relationship with him."
"And, uh I think it's very interesting to see what's happened. I mean look. He's done very brilliant job, in terms of what he represents, and who he's representing."
"If you look at what he's done with Syria."
"If you look at so many of the different things, he has really eaten our President's lunch. Let's not kid ourselves."
"He's done an amazing job. He's put himself, really as a lot of people would really as a lot of people would say, he's put himself in the forefront as a leader, in a very short period of time."
"Now in all fairness to Obama, I think that he's done the same thing with Bush, with President Bush."
"I think that Putin has done an amazing job with showing leadership that our people have not been able to match."
Russia's economy is heavily dependent on the price of oil, which was still high then and has plummeted since, sending Moscow into a sea of deficit spending that lasts to this day. In 2013 the price of oil was traded firmly in the $100 per barrel range, and it has plummeted 50% in recent years. Trump's praise of Putin should be tempered with the knowledge that he runs a Russian petro-state.
We always knew that Donald Trump had a vodka brand - that failed - and it was in fact in Russia. We even accept the claim at face value, that the Trumps did tell the truth about selling some luxury real estate to Russian companies and buyers - not lightly, but it's simply known in the real estate market that these buyers do exist. But the Trump family ties go far deeper than they've led us to believe, and there's more video to prove it.
There has always been speculation about Trump's ties to Russia stemming from one, well known tweet in 2013 which is still on his social media account’s timeline:
However, the Mother Jones researchers found this far less well known, but more explicit Tweet about Russia from Donald Trump:
Donald Trump has intentionally hidden his ties to Putin’s Russia throughout his campaign. It’s undeniable that the Republican candidate endorses Putin’s actions, his world view, and his “strong” leadership.
Trump revels in even the slightest compliment from Vladimir Putin.
These revelations cast Donald Trump’s entire motivation for running for President into fresh doubt, as well as the true nature of his overseas allegiances.
More supplemental material, including video of Donald Trump Jr. talking about his "many many trips" to Russia and more from their source, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump research team whose complaint to the IRS led to the Republican candidate paying a fine for an illegal campaign contribution in Florida by his charitable foundation. Author is not affiliated with DCAT.