In the latest addition to the still-expanding timeline of Russia’s possible collusion with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the New York Times reports a business associate of the president once tried to orchestrate a business deal with Moscow that might have political ramifications. Specifically, the story details several emails between Felix Sater and Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen — both of whom have popped up in reports regarding Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and the mob — and their discussions about a new Trump Tower location and the involvement of Vladimir Putin.
The emails obtained by the Times suggest Sater believed he had strong ties to Putin’s government, and he thought he could use this relationship to secure real estate in Moscow. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” he emailed Cohen. “I will get all of [Putin’s] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” The end goal? Per Sater’s emails, the businessman thought he could score Trump significant political points in the United States. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” he boasted.
The emails date from the earliest days of Trump’s presidential campaign, when — as the Times adds — “his associates viewed close ties with Moscow as a political advantage.” Like George Papadopoulos, the youngest member of the campaign’s foreign policy team, who tried repeatedly to set up a meeting between his candidate and Putin in early 2016. As Cohen told the Times in a statement, however, Sater’s emails were simply “colorful language” and “salesmanship.” What’s more, the lawyer concludes, they “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”
Aside from Cohen’s statement, the Trump Organization on Monday declared, “To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia.” Sater evidently didn’t offer the Times or anyone else a comment on the matter. On Monday, the Trump Org also turned over several emails to the House Intelligence Committee for its ongoing Russia probe. Some of these emails were those detailed by the Times.
(Via New York Times)