Suspicious ties between President Donald Trump and the Russian government just keep appearing.
In 2015, a Russian-born real estate broker working for the Trump Organization, Felix Sater, reportedly wrote a series of emails to Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, attempting to broker a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Those emails, obtained by The New York Times on Monday, appear to indicate Sater’s willingness to use a Moscow deal as a way to bolster a Trump presidency.
“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote. “I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” another email said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The deal in Moscow, spearheaded in 2015 while Trump was already running for president, was originally reported by The Washington Post on Sunday.
In an additional story published Monday afternoon, the Post reported that Cohen reached out to a top aide to Putin for help on the deal, at Sater’s recommendation.
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance,” Cohen wrote in an email to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary. “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.”
Sater reportedly suggested Trump visit Moscow, baiting him by claiming President Vladimir Putin could say “great things” about Trump.
Trump never ended up traveling to Moscow to pursue the deal, and Cohen says he didn’t either.
“I ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia,” Cohen told The New York Times in a statement.
Side-by-side Justice Department and congressional investigations are currently underway to determine whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 election. The investigations are looking into a number of possible contacts, including a meeting Donald Trump Jr. organized in June 2016. That meeting was with a woman Trump Jr. and others had been told was a Russian government attorney who could provide documents that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton.
This article has been updated with details about Michael Cohen reaching out to a Putin aide.