Donald Trump has long maintained that he or his campaign had nothing to do with Russia. But when special counsel Robert Mueller proved that his campaign staff, including former lawyer Michael Cohen and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, had a lot to do with Russia, Trump tried to defend himself by claiming that he was not aware of their contacts with Russia.
Then, last week, filings for Cohen’s sentencing revealed that he had lied about the actual timeline of his dealings with Russian officials regarding the construction of Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen admitted to keeping Trump in the loop about the development, which Trump also denied. But now CNN has obtained a document which potentially flies in the face of Trump’s assertion that he had nothing to do with Russia. A letter of intent signed by Donald Trump to go forward with the construction of Trump Tower Moscow shows that even while he was preparing to run his campaign for the presidency, he was giving his company the go-ahead to foster a massive real estate deal in Moscow.
As Chris Cuomo of CNN noted while introducing the document, the letter of intent signed by Trump doesn’t implicate him of any wrongdoing or proves his criminality, but it allegedly shows us that Donald Trump has been lying about having no contact with Russia. The fact is that he signed a letter of intent to build Moscow Trump Tower in October of 2015 when he was preparing to build his campaign. Cohen has already told investigators that he continued to work with Russian officials to see the proposed project to its completion much beyond the start of Trump’s campaign and that he kept Trump in the loop all that time.
As Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn put it aptly after Cohen’s confession, Trump was interacting with Russia even as he was telling voters of his “America First” agenda.
“When Trump was running for president as the ‘America First Candidate’ his company was secretly interacting with Putin’s own office so that he could do a deal in Russia to make money for Donald Trump – and not telling the public. There’s a defrauding of the American voter underway.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s assessment of Trump lying about the entire deal holds a lot of water in light of the current revelation.
“As a candidate, we now know, Trump was definitely compromised by Russia. He was lying about his dealings with Russia and Russia knew it and Russia was helping him to keep it a secret. We have a presidential candidate who is lying about Russia’s plan to provide him with hundreds of millions of dollars for that real estate project if he gets sanctions removed.”
Just this Sunday, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani had said there was a letter of intent, but “no one had signed it,” which we now know could be false. It is staggering to see the level of alleged misinformation emanating from Donald Trump and his staff, but the president might be in real trouble as his words in his own defense now hold little credibility.