Donald Trump's legacy with Russians isn't a recent phenomenon. He repeatedly claimed that he doesn' know or have business relationships with Russians. That is proven to be false.
As is often the case, Trump is mincing words and nuanced. It is like when President Clinton remarked, "It depends on what 'it' is."
He may not have built buildings in Russia, but he evidently has partnered with them on projects outside of Russia and engaged their financial assistance. Those are "relationships" with Russians.
Russians have probably gained information that may be used to blackmail him.
"Russia has tried for years to manipulate Trump using lucrative business deals, and Russian operatives have collected compromising information that could potentially be used to blackmail Trump.
Evidence: These allegations are based on a 35-page dossier of opposition research on Trump, prepared by a former British intelligence officer hired by Trump’s Republican and Democratic rivals during the election. The dossier contained numerous explosive but unverified claims."
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/feb/22/all-possible-ties-between-trump-and-russia/Trump's own words.
“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.”
And he’s right. Trump has a long history of trying to do business in Russia, but despite many efforts and plenty of boasting and angling, he hasn’t managed to land a single major real estate deal there.
But that’s only part of the picture. He has partnered with Russian financiers on major projects elsewhere around the world. Russian investors have been instrumental in helping him cope with all the credit problems he has thanks to his serial bankruptcies. And some Trump’s former and current advisers have had financial ties to Russia.
As of now, there isn’t any evidence that suggests Trump has some spectacular financial prize to gain by warming to Russia. There’s no particular reason to think that getting friendly with Vladimir Putin ensures something for his real estate empire that couldn’t be gained by cozying up to, say, the president of Argentina."
"Foreign Policy, Situation Report
By Paul McLeary with Adam Rawnsley
First man. “President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin” a decade ago, the AP's Jeff Horowitz and Chad Day report.
Manafort pitched a plan to the Kremlin around 2005 “that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government,” the story states, quoting a Manafort memo directly: “we are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success.” Manafort managed Trump’s presidential campaign from June to August last year, but was on the Trump team for months before that."
FPWith a cadre of individuals in his campaign, Trump is up to his neck in Russians.
Image from Radio Free Europe