With the FBI and a special prosecutor intensifying their investigation of his campaign’s possible connections to the Russian government, President Trump has made a point of declaring that he and his companies have no business in Russia.
Maybe not, but it’s not for a lack of trying.
Stories today in The New York Times and The Washington Post detail now-abandoned plans by the Trump organization to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The Post said that in January 2016, shortly before the start of the presidential primary season, Trump attorney Michael Cohen sought help on the project from Dmitry Peskov, the personal spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Cohen acknowledged in an email to Peskov that the project had stalled, The Post said, writing that “I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon.” The Trump organization apparently abandoned the project soon after Cohen's overture to Peskov.
Cohen worked on the tower proposal with another Trump associate, Felix Sater, a broker for the Trump organization. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email to Cohen obtained by The Times. “I will get all of [Russian President Valdimir] Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process,” Sater added.
The Times said there’s no evidence that Sater delivered on his promises to Cohen or that Trump was personally involved in his organization’s negotiations with Russian authorities concerning the tower project. Cohen told the newspaper that Sater “has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to salesmanship.”
But Sater apparently was trusted enough by Trump to have arranged for a 2006 trip to Moscow by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. In an email reported by The Times, Sater said he “arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.”
Ivanka Trump has acknowledged visiting Red Square and the Kremlin but told the Times she has never met Putin. She did not say whether she had sat in the Russian leader’s chair.
Office: Common Cause National