A Trump Organization Executive Asked the Kremlin for Help With a Business Deal
Emails reveal that a Trump Organization executive reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal spokesman to facilitate a business deal in Moscow.
According to the Washington Post, Michael Cohen emailed Putin lieutenant Dmitry Peskov for help to move a stalled project forward--in the height of the U.S. Presidential campaign. Cohen reportedly wrote to Peskov:
"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. 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."
In a statement, Cohen told Congress that he wrote to Peskov at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman and associate of Trump. Sater reportedly boasted about his ties to the Kremlin to Cohen, and suggested that a successful deal would bolster Trump's campaign. According to an email acquired by the New York Times, Sater wrote: "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."
As investigators look into whether there was any collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign, these exchanges provide evidence of direct communications between top Trump and Putin officials. Nevertheless, Cohen told congressional investigators that he did not "recall receiving a response" from Peskov and apparently sent the email to a general Kremlin press account.
U.S. intelligence agencies have already concluded that the Russian government interfered to help Trump win the 2016 election. Regardless of whether Cohen received a response from the Kremlin, the revelation of this correspondence adds credence to allegations that Trump's team sought this assistance. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published late Monday, Cohen said he discussed the prospective deal in Moscow with Trump personally on three occasions during the presidential campaign.