Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent an email to Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman, asking for help in moving forward with a stalled Trump Tower development during the 2016 campaign, according to The Washington Post.
“Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower — Moscow project in Moscow City,” Cohen wrote Peskov, a person familiar with the email told the Post. “Without getting into lengthy specifics, the communication between our two sides has stalled.”
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. 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,” Cohen wrote.
Trump’s praise of Putin, and his embryonic pro-Russia policy, was formed during this same period.
Cohen told congressional investigators that he did not receive a response from Peskov and the deal fell through two weeks later.
“It should come as no surprise that, over four decades, the Trump Organization has received and reviewed countless real estate development opportunities, both domestic and international,” he said in a statement to the Post. “The Trump Moscow proposal was simply one of many development opportunities that the Trump Organization considered and ultimately rejected.”
However, the revelation of the request comes as Trump’s business ties to Russia continue to be under intense scrutiny.
The Justice Department is actively investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Moscow under special counsel Robert Mueller ‘s federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Hill added:
At the time of the emails, Cohen had been in negotiations with Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker for the Trump Organization, to attempt to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital. The negotiations were ongoing from September 2015 through the end of January 2016, according to the Post.
Cohen told congressional investigators that the project was envisioned as a licensing deal, in which a Moscow-based developed would have paid Trump for the use of his name. Trump signed a letter of intent with the developer, I.C. Expert Investment Company, on Oct. 28, 2015, Cohen said.
In 2015, Sater told Cohen that he would enlist Russian President Vladimir Putin in a proposed real estate deal, arguing that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would benefit Trump’s candidacy, according to a series of emails obtained by The New York Times.
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote on Nov. 3, 2015, almost exactly a year before Election Day. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”