The Trump Organization at one time planned to give Russian President
Citing four unnamed sources familiar with the plan,
The planned development in Moscow was never built, and it is not clear that the proposal ever got past preliminary stages.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, discussed the penthouse gift idea with a representative of Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, two law enforcement sources told Buzzfeed.
Trump and Putin are seen meeting in Helsinki in a file photo from July. A new report claims that Trump’s company at one time considered giving Putin a penthouse in a planned luxury tower
There was nothing inherently illegal about plans for Trump Tower Moscow, Trump said on Thursday, explaining that exploring new developments was a normal part of his business before he was elected.
‘I decided ultimately not to do it,’ Trump said to reporters of the Moscow develoment. ‘There would be nothing wrong if I did do it.’
However, the plans for Trump Tower Moscow are at the center of Cohen’s surprise new guilty plea on Thursday, when he confessed that he lied to Congress about a pursuing the deal on Trump’s behalf during the heat of the 2016 Republican campaign.
He said he lied to be consistent with Trump’s ‘political messaging.’ Trump insisted repeatedly throughout the campaign that he had no business dealings in Russia.
Trump told reporters on Thursday that he decided not to pursue the Trump Tower Moscow development, but that there would have been nothing illegal about it if he had
Cohen’s plea arrangement made clear that prosecutors believe that Trump was continuing to pursue the Trump Tower Moscow project weeks after he had clinched the Republican nomination for president and well after he and his associates have publicly acknowledged.
The negotiations about building the Moscow tower continued as late as June 2016 – the same month Trump’s oldest son met in Manhattan with a Kremlin-connected lawyer – even though Cohen told two congressional committees last year that the talks ended that January.
Cohen also discussed the proposal with Trump on multiple occasions and with unidentified members of the president’s family, according to court papers filed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
Michael Cohen exits Federal Court after entering a guilty plea in Manhattan on Thursday
Cohen is cooperating with Mueller and has met with his team at least seven times, prosecutors say.
The Cohen case was filed in New York a week after Trump and his lawyers provided Mueller with responses to written questions.
It is the first new charge filed by the special counsel since the appointment of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has spoken critically about the investigation.
Whitaker was advised of the plea ahead of time, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Trump bashed Cohen’s plea on Thursday, calling his former attorney a ‘weak person’ who was lying in order to get a reduced prison sentence.