"President-elect Trump was not always reflexively pro-Russia, and the roots of his embrace of Moscow are relatively recent. And, like so much of his business career, Trump’s interest in Russia grew from financial desperation. During the 1990s, Trump found himself more than $4 billion in debt to more than 70 banks, and a series of bankruptcies, heavy financial losses, and debt restructuring lead almost all major American banks to simply refuse to do business with him.28 Consequently, beginning in the 2000s, he began to rely very heavily on foreign banks for his lending,29 and Russia—with its inner circle of wealthy oligarchs close to Putin and lax financial integrity laws—must have seemed like a cash cow to Trump. As Slate editor Franklin Foer reported, Trump has attempted on at least five different occasions to launch large projects in Russia, including hotels, spas, and apartment buildings.30 Both Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., have made repeated trips to Moscow in efforts to ingratiate themselves. After one such trip, the senior Trump practically crowed that “almost all of the oligarchs were in the room” for one of his meetings.31 Yet, all of these attempts at launching major developments in Russia fizzled, and Donald Jr., who traveled to Moscow six times in one 18-month period alone, was left to observe of the Russian business environment, “It is a question of who knows who, whose brother is paying off who.”32 While Russia did not pan out as the location for grand new Trump developments, it did become an important wellspring for financial backing. In essence, Trump did not begin investing in Russia—rather, dark Russian money began investing in him."