The Russian government has confirmed that a close adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump contacted the Kremlin during the presidential campaign regarding a stalled real estate project in Moscow, but the emailed request was ignored. Matthew Larotonda reports.
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / MOSCOW, RUSSIA / ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA (REUTERS / RESTRICTED POOL) – The Russian government has confirmed that a member of U.S. President Donald Trump’s inner circle did reach out to them while he was on the campaign trail about a stalled real estate project in Moscow…
… seeming to acknowledge a possible business connection between the president and that country that the White House has long denied.
The Washington Post has reported that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer and a business adviser had contacted the Kremlin in January of 2016 in an attempt to advance a planned Trump Tower building.
But according to the Kremlin, the emailed message was ignored and never forwarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON DMITRY PESKOV,
“I can confirm that among the mass of e-mails there was an e-mail from Mr. Michael Cohen. This really happened. This letter said that a certain Russian company and certain people want to build this kind of skyscraper in the city of Moscow, but their project had stalled and they asked for help with some kind of recommendation or with pushing this project forward. (…) This is not our job. We left this matter without a response and we had no further requests.”
It isn’t clear how aware or involved the president may have been with the project.
But a planned Trump Tower would appear to contradict the president’s repeated denials of business links in Russia, going as far to tweet in July that, quote, he has “zero investments” there.
That Kremlin statement does shed light on the nature at least most contact between close Trump associates and Russia that are under investigation.
Michael Cohen himself is expected to testify in September before a congressional intelligence committee involved with the probes, that have also touched as close as Trump’s family: Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner.