Michael Cohen, a longtime personal attorney for President Donald Trump, sent an email to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman asking him for help in approving a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The Washington Post reports that Cohen, in his role as executive vice president for the Trump Organization, emailed top Kremlin press aide Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 to ask about reviving the Trump Tower Moscow project, which he described as “stalled” at the time of the message.
“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 in 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.”
In a statement given to Congressional investigators, Cohen said that he did not recall if Peskov ever replied to his message. He also said that he wrote the email at the behest of Felix Sater, the Trump-linked Russian-born businessman who in 1998 pleaded guilty to taking part in a mafia-related stock fraud scheme.
In other emails turned over to Congressional investigators, Sater boasted to Cohen that he could get Putin and the entire Russian government to help Trump’s presidential campaign if Cohen could help him get the Trump Tower Moscow deal back on track.
Sater’s financial relationship with Trump dates back to at least 2003, when the Trump Organization rented out office space to Sater’s former company.
Even though Trump initially tried to distance himself from Sater after news of his criminal past came to light in 2007, he subsequently tapped Sater in 2010 to scout out real estate. Additionally, Sater presented clients with business cards that claimed he was a senior adviser to Trump, and his office was on the same floor as Trump’s office in Trump Tower.