Russiagate: WaPo blows lid off Moscow Tower deal while Trump ran for prez
On August 1st, Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo reported that Donald Trump was trying to put together a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow – during the 2016 campaign.
Two days later, on August 3rd, former Trump Organization associate Felix Sater told The New Yorker‘s Andrew Rice:
… something big was brewing. “In about the next 30 to 35 days,” he told me, “I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.”
It’s only been 24 days, but this Sunday evening has yielded a juicy Russiagate scoop from WaPo. Naaaah, no corruption to see here, move along…
While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.
As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.
The developer, Felix Sater, predicted in a November 2015 email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.
Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen “something to the effect of, ‘Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?’ ” said one person briefed on the email exchange. Sater emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 6 and grew up in Brooklyn.
Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said.
Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations.
The article is rich with additional details and a report that neither Sater nor his attorneys would comment – and its publication suggests that WaPo (and many other major American media outlets) may be onto a larger story involving Trump, Sater, and Russia.