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Report: Trump Org wanted Putin to have penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow

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Vladimir PutinThomas Kronsteiner / Getty
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  • The Trump Organization reportedly planned to give Russian
    President Vladimir Putin the $50 million penthouse in the
    now-defunct Trump Tower Moscow.
  • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former longtime
    lawyer who oversaw the project, reportedly discussed the idea
    with a spokesperson for Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.
  • Cohen was in touch with Peskov’s office in early 2016 about
    getting Russia’s approval for the deal. After Cohen gave his
    spokesperson details about the project and asked for help in
    pushing it forward, she said she would forward his request to
    others in Russia.
  • Felix Sater, the Russian-born businessman who worked with
    Cohen on the deal, confirmed the Trump Organization’s plan to
    give Putin the penthouse.
  • “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and
    charge $250 million more for the rest of the units,” he said.
    “All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building
    as Putin.”

When it was pushing to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, the Trump
Organization reportedly wanted to give Russian President Vladimir
Putin the penthouse in the building.

According to BuzzFeed News, two
law-enforcement officials said Michael Cohen, who was President
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer at the time, discussed
the idea with a spokesperson for Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press
secretary.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of lying to
Congress about his involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project.

Cohen talked about the deal in a statement to the committee in
September 2017 and expanded on it when he appeared before the
panel the next month.

Many of the questions focused on Cohen’s email exchanges about
the deal with the Russian-born businessman Felix Sater, as well
as whether Russia had any involvement in the Trump Organization’s
push to build the tower during the election.


Read more:

Michael Cohen’s latest plea deal shows Mueller’s ‘starting to
finally get to the truth’ behind Trump and Russia

In a criminal information unsealed on Thursday, prosecutors wrote
that Cohen knowingly misled investigators by giving a false
timeline of when the project ended and how extensively he
discussed it with others in the Trump Organization, including
Donald Trump and his family members.

Prosecutors wrote that Cohen gave “the false impression that the
Moscow Project ended before” the Iowa caucus, which took place on
February 1, 2016, “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia
investigations.”

In fact, Cohen was in touch with Sater about the deal until as
late as June 2016.

Cohen first got in touch with Peskov in January 2016, when he
asked him for the Russian government’s help in pushing the deal
through. On or about January 20, Cohen got a response from a
personal assistant to Peskov who said she had been trying to
reach him and requested that he contact her using a Moscow phone
number.

Shortly after, Cohen called the assistant and spoke to her for 20
minutes, the information says. After Cohen gave her details about
the project and asked for help in pushing it forward, she said
she would forward his request to others in Russia.

The next day, prosecutors said, Sater wrote to Cohen and asked to
speak with him on the phone. “It’s about [Putin] they called
today,” Sater said.


sater trump
Felix Sater and Donald
Trump

Grant Stern/The Trump
Organization


On Thursday, Sater told BuzzFeed he and Cohen thought giving
Putin the penthouse would prompt other wealthy Russian buyers to
scoop up apartments in the building.

“In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live
in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater said. “My idea was
to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million
more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up
to live in the same building as Putin.”

The scrapped Trump Tower Moscow project is at the center of
the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s
interference in the 2016 election. As part of the inquiry,
Mueller is examining whether members of the Trump campaign
colluded with Moscow to sway the race in Trump’s favor.

News that the Trump Organization sought to establish direct
financial ties to Putin at the height of the election will likely
interest prosecutors who are, among other things, said to be
looking into the motivation behind Trump’s repeated deference to
Russia and his willingness to trust Putin’s word over that of his
own intelligence agencies.

A source close to Trump’s legal team confirmed to INSIDER
on Thursday that he answered questions from Mueller related to
the deal. And although Trump’s lawyers branded Cohen a “liar” and
said “we can’t trust him,” they said that Trump’s version of
events related to the project lined up with Cohen’s.

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