Documents now in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller reveal at least two previously secret business contacts between the Donald Trump organization and Russia that took place during Trump’s campaign for president, according to an explosive report in Monday’s Washington Post. One of the contacts involved communication between Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, a Russian born businessman widely believed to have organized crime connections.
The contact between Sater and Cohen involved a possible trip by Cohen to Russia where he would attend an economic conference at which Russian President Vladimir Putin would also be present, according to the Post report. But Cohen ultimately did not travel to the conference. Read the entire Washington Post report on the newly uncovered Trump Russia contacts by visiting this link.
After Russia’s military incursion into neighboring Ukraine in 2014, President Barack Obama strongly discouraged American business representatives from attending the conference.
Though Trump has claimed that he does not know Sater, the Russian immigrant was Trump’s business partner in the troubled Trump Tower Soho project in New York City.
And more recently, Sater’s name surfaced as the go-between between the Trump organization and the Russian government in a proposal for a Trump Tower Moscow real estate development — a project that remained active during the campaign even as Trump was claiming that he had no business dealings or projects in Russia.
In a series of emails between Sater and Cohen in 2015, the Russian told Trump’s lawyer, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” a statement in which “our boy” referred to Trump himself.
“I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process,” Sater told Cohen in the emails.
In addition to the business conference email between Sater and Cohen, Mueller is also now in possession of a proposal directed to Trump’s lawyer from Russian billionaire oligarch Sergei Gordeev, who had also served in Russia’s parliament. The proposal involved a residential real estate development, but Cohen passed on the opportunity, telling the Post, “I have never been to Russia.”
According to the Post reporting, Cohen declined the real estate proposal from Gordeev because the Trump Organization was already committed to the Trump Tower Moscow project with Sater. But the correspondence provides further evidence that Trump’s businesses were actively pursuing Russian business opportunities even as Trump was running for president claiming to have no dealings in Russia.
For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2016
But the two undisclosed Trump Russia business contacts are not the only new revelations of connections between Trump associates and top Russian business or government figures to emerge on Monday. In emails obtained by The Atlantic Magazine, Paul Manafort — who served as Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016 — is reportedly shown attempting to use his connection with Trump to settle millions of dollars in debts that he owed to another Russian oligarch, Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, stemming from a botched business deal dating back to 2008.
Read the entire Atlantic report on the newly discovered Manafort Russia contact at this link.
Manfort sent an email to a Russian associate asking whether his work with the Trump campaign would allow him to “get whole,” that is, settle debts, on April 11 of last year — just two weeks after he had been hired by Trump to oversee the campaign’s delegate recruiting operations at time when it still appeared that Trump may face a floor fight over delegates at the Republican National Convention.
The Manafort correspondence is being seen as evidence of a “quid pro quo” between Manafort and the Russian oligarch in which Manafort, according to The Atlantic, “attempted to leverage his leadership role in the Trump campaign to curry favor with a Russian oligarch close to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.”
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