WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is moving toward returning an Upper Brookville mansion to Russia, five months after Barack Obama ordered it shuttered as retaliation for alleged Kremlin interference in the election, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Obama made the call to close the mansion in late December and have the premises vacated. He also expelled nearly three dozen operatives and imposed sanctions on Russia.
The mansion sits on 14 acres, has 36 rooms and an in-ground swimming pool. The Soviet Union bought the mansion and surrounding property in 1952 to house the Soviet delegate to the United Nations, according to a Sept. 18, 1952, Newsday article.
In December, Nassau County assessment records listed the brick and stone estate as a “Russian Federation Mission” with a market value of $9,350,400.
The White House did not immediately return requests for comment, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer earlier Wednesday referred all Russian-related questions to Trump’s outside counsel.
A State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday night officials have looked into the matter with their Europe bureau but she had no other comment.
During the presidential campaign, Trump praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin, with whom Obama had a mostly frosty relationship. The president has also repeatedly denied allegations his 2016 campaign colluded with Moscow and Kremlin-friendly groups.
An investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian interests is continuing.
The Trump administration is considering potential restrictions on the activities of the Russian occupants of the Long Island mansion as well as facilities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that were also closed in December, before it permits them to return, the Post reported.
Upper Brookville Mayor Elliot Conway said he would check with the State Department Thursday before commenting on the hamlet once again hosting a Russian delegation after the unceremonious expulsion.
Conway said he’s not surprised if the diplomats want to return.
“Upper Brookville is the best place in the United States to raise a family and live and I can understand why they might want to come back,” he said.