Donald Trump: "I have nothing to do with Russia"
(CBS NEWS) Donald Trump denies in a new interview that he has any ties to the Russian government or Russian investors.
In an interview released early Wednesday with the CBS Miami, the GOP presidential nominee was asked to respond to allegations that the Russians are trying to help elect him in November.
"I don't know anything about it. I can tell you, I think if I came up with that, they'd say, 'Oh, it's a conspiracy theory,' it's ridiculous. I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia."
CBS4's Jim DeFede then asked Trump about whether Russian funds have flowed into his businesses and if Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to control him as a result.
"Is that the theory? I haven't heard that at all," Trump said. "I mean I haven't heard that. But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever."
Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort also denied on Wednesday that the GOP presidential nominee has any financial ties to Russia.
In an interview on "CBS This Morning," Manafort was asked directly to confirm that Trump has no financial relationship with Russian oligarchs.
"That's what he said. That's what... that's obviously what our position is," Manafort said. But don't look for Trump to release his taxes to prove it.
"Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them," Manafort told "CBS This Morning." "It has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with any country other than the United States, and his normal tax auditing processes -- so that issue will be dealt with when the audits are done."
A day earlier, Trump tweeted that Democrats are trying to push the narrative that Russia is working for Trump because they want to deflect attention away from the email hack at the Democratic National Committee, which he called "crazy." He then said he has no investments in Russia.
For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2016
U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News Tuesday that they believe people working for the Russian government are behind the hack of internal DNC emails.
In the interview Wednesday, however, Manafort was asked if Russia has investments in Trump and if Trump is willing to release his taxes to be transparent. Manafort said that Trump has no plan to release them because they're still under audit.
"Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them. It has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing processes, so that issue will be dealt with when the audits are done," Manafort said.
Asked to comment on a possible relationship between Trump and Russia, Manafort said, "We have no relationship. This is an absurd attempt by the Clinton campaign to try to get the focus off of what the real issue is."
Manafort was also asked to clarify Trump's position on the federal minimum wage because he keeps changing his comments on it, but he failed to give a clear answer.
"We'll be dealing with that, his national economic policy and some of his tax policies in the course of the next several weeks as he makes several speeches dealing with these type of topics," said Manafort, who then accused Democrats of not explaining how they'll pay for their proposed programs and policies.
Asked again if Trump believes in raising the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour, Manafort said, "Donald said what he did and that will be explained in the context of an overall economic package that we're doing over the course of the next two weeks."