Russiagate: Team Trump in full freakout over new leaked emails
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.
Hmmm – running for Presdient, cutting deals with Russians, who are under some rigorous sanctions – hey, no chance of any conflicts of interest there!
Early Monday afternoon, The New York Times followed through with additional details, including this e-mail (click on it to enlarge) from Sater to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen:
> Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy 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…
Okay, sports fans – does that look like collusion? Or does it look more like conspiracy? And there’s this:
Michael we can own this story. Donald doesn’t stare down, he negotiates and understands the economic issues and Putin only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man [sic] is a good candidate for someone who knows how to negotiate. “Business, politics, whatever it all is the same for someone who knows how to deal”
Well! Now we know someone bought their own hype about a wheeler-dealer president. And in 2015!
Michael Cohen issued this terse non-denial denial to the Times:
Mr. Cohen suggested that Mr. Sater’s comments were puffery. “He has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to ‘salesmanship,’ ” Mr. Cohen said in a statement. “I ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.
Riiiiight, Michael. Enjoy the freakout. And maybe hire another couple of lawyers for yourself – we have a hunch you’re going to need them!
UPDATE: The good folks at Raw Story have video footage of what happened when one journo asked Trump about Sater. Grab the popcorn and go watch!
A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.
Michael Cohen, a Trump attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide.
“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, according to a person familiar with the email. “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.
Cohen’s email marks the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.
The email shows the Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests, in the same months when Trump was distinguishing himself on the campaign trail with his warm rhetoric about Putin.
In a statement Cohen submitted to congressional investigators, he said he wrote the email at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal.
In the statement, obtained by The Washington Post, Cohen said Sater suggested the outreach because a massive Trump development in Moscow would require Russian government approval. He said he did not recall receiving a response from Peskov and the project was abandoned two weeks later.
Didn’t Trump say he never asked the Russian government for business help?