Trump Tower Moscow Plan, Russia Sanctions Rollback Linked In New Trump Collusion Evidence, Expert Says

Jonathan Vankin

In a new expert analysis of recent revelations about the ties between Donald Trump and Russia, two key elements of those ties now appear to have been taking place during the 2016 campaign campaign — and in secret. The seeming connections could point to collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential election campaign and the Russian government.

The new analysis by national security expert Ryan Goodman, founding editor of the national security news site Just Security, shows possible connections between Trump's planned Trump Tower Moscow real estate development project and a secret, "back channel" deal to lift United States economic and political sanctions on Russia that was revealed by The New York Times in February of this year, about a month after Trump's inauguration.

Trump's plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a plan that would require direct cooperation with the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin, was originated in 2013. But as The Inquisitr reported last week in the article available at this link, the project appears to remain alive even today — despite claims by Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen that plans for the Moscow tower were scrapped when Trump decided to run for president.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly issued flat denials that he had any business ties to Russia, but the existence of the Trump Tower project, revealed in documents uncovered by CNN and accessible at this link, directly contradicts Trump's denials.

As Goodman notes in his analysis — which may be read in its entirety at this link — congressional investigators now appear to be scrutinizing both the Trump Tower Moscow plan and the "back channel" sanctions deal, which was characterized as a "peace plan" for Ukraine, to uncover any links — because the two deals now appear to involve the same cast of characters as well as very similar timelines.

The Trump Tower Moscow deal involved Cohen as well as Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who also partnered with Trump on his scandal-plagued Trump Tower Soho deal in New York City. Another partner in that deal has characterized Sater as connected to both New York and Russian organized crime syndicates.

Trump has claimed that he doesn't know Sater, even though they have collaborated on both the Soho and Moscow Trump Tower projects.

But Sater and Cohen also teamed to push the so-called "peace plan" for Ukraine. That plan, whose main feature was lifting sanctions on Russia, was reported by the Times and other media outlets to have landed on the desk of now-fired Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in February of 2017, hand-delivered by Cohen. But according to Goodman, "there is reason to believe it began much earlier."

The pro-Russian Ukraine politician who met with Cohen and Sater in New York to discuss the plan in January, Andrii Artemenko, has said in the Ukrainian media that he began discussing the "peace" proposal with the two Trump associates "at the time of the primaries, when no one believed that Trump would even be nominated."

If Artemenko's characterization is accurate, those initial conversations would have taken place in the early months of 2016 — a full year before the plan to lift Russia sanctions arrived in Flynn's office.

That timeline would directly coincide with the ongoing negotiations involving Cohen, Sater, and Russian businessmen connected to Putin, to move forward with Trump Tower Moscow — a project that if completed could prove highly lucrative for the Trump business organization.

The timelines also coincide with emails between Sater and Cohen in which Sater told the Trump lawyer that he would get "Putin's team" to "engineer" Trump's election as U.S. president.

"I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected," Sater told Cohen in an email. "Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."

[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]