POLITICS

Trump Investigators Are Just Getting Started With The Russia Emails

A string of reports suggest Trump associates were eager to use their coziness with Russia to the campaign's advantage.
How Did We Learn About Them?
In August, news outlets published a string of emails that Trump campaign officials and associates had sent during the 2016 election. The emails openly discussed Russia's interest in Donald Trump's candidacy and plans to meet directly with Putin. They were among the trove of documents turned over to congressional committees now investigating Russian meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign during the election.
What Do They Say?
Some of the most explosive emails were between Felix Sater, a Russian-born convicted felon and longtime Trump associate, and Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen. In the conversation, Sater says that securing a deal to build a skyscraper in Moscow will help propel Trump to the presidency.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in a November 2015 email released by The New York Times. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Cohen has since claimed he never took Sater's proposal seriously.

In a separate email published by The Washington Post, Cohen reached out to Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 to ask for help in advancing the Trump Tower proposal in Moscow. Cohen says he doesn't recall if he ever had further contact with Russian officials. Peskov says he received the email, but did not respond.
Why Do They Matter?
The emails came amid broader Russian-directed efforts to sway the election in Trump's favor, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. At the very least, they speak to an uncharacteristic friendliness between Russians and Trump campaign officials. At most, they could suggest there was actual coordination between them.
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