In June 2008, Donald Trump Jr. attended a real estate conference in Moscow hosted by Adam Smith Conferences. The Adam Smith 6th Annual Russian Real Estate Summit, where Donald Trump Jr. was the special guest keynote speaker, was described as the ‘most prestigious conference dedicated to the Russian real estate market’. This conference was sponsored by Marks & Sokolov International Law firm with offices in Moscow and Philadelphia. Bruce Marks is listed as the managing director of the Philadelphia office and Sergey Sokolov is listed as the managing director of the Moscow office.
Bruce Marks, the founder and managing member of Marks & Sokolov LLC, prides himself on the reputation he has built as an expert on commercial legal matters between the West, Russia, and Ukraine. Mr. Marks is very involved in Russian real estate seminars and Russian corporate events and attracts numerous wealthy and powerful Russian oligarchs. On October 19th 2011, Marks & Sokolov partnered with The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia to host the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Bruce Marks played an essential role in securing Kislyak for this event. Thomas Sullivan, listed as a senior attorney for Marks & Sokolov attended an event with Sergey Kislyak at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC on May 13, 2014 and again on May 18, 2015. Over the past several years this law firm has had many encounters with Kislyak as well as many Russian oligarchs connected to the Kremlin.
Why is this important? Donald Trump met Bruce Marks in 1994 when Trump attended Bruce’s reelection campaign for the Pennsylvania State Senate. Bruce Marks and his firm were hired by Donald Trump’s Campaign to represent the litigation filed in the Pennsylvania federal court by the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee regarding the vote recount last November. Trump faced great scrutiny last year for his admiration of Putin; his campaign manager Paul Manafort’s ties to Yanukovich, a pro-Putin ousted Ukrainian leader; Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s role in the hacking of the DNC, and Trump’s continued promotion of WikiLeaks, which is known to be closely connected to Russia’s Intel Services. With all the Russian ties that surrounded the campaign, why did Trump choose to hire Bruce Marks, who is so heavily involved with Russia? When faced with this question last November, Bruce Marks stated that other than his recent work for the Trump campaign he has had no attorney-client relationship with Trump.
What if Trump has known Kislyak longer than he originally stated? Trump supposedly met Kislyak for the first time at the famous Lavrov-Kislyak meeting in the Oval Office last May yet Trump forgot their encounter at the Mayflower Hotel last year. Bruce Marks can be added as another Trump- Russia connection that leads straight to the Kremlin and Kislyak.