In addition to the Mueller investigation into Donald Trump’s business ties with Russia, the Congress is now interested in investigating a deal about another “Trump Tower” right outside the Russian capital of Moscow, according to NBC News.
Testimonies obtained by Congress show that this “other” Trump Tower was supposed to be the centerpiece of a suburban development plan the Russians dubbed “Manhattan.” It would be worth noting here that this is not the same Trump Tower that the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, talked about in recent court filings. Cohen revealed that he had lied about the timeline of a Trump Tower project in Russia to Congress, saying that the plans to construct the building stretched well into Trump’s presidential campaign.
Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he had “zero” investments in Russia.
“For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia,” he tweeted back in July 2016.
Despite this claim, it appears Trump has constantly sought to invest in a real estate project in Russia and has always failed to do so. The report claims that in total there have been five attempts by Donald Trump to build a tower in Russia, going as far back as 1987 when he visited the country and wanted to invest for the first time.
Two Congressional aides tell NBC News that Trump's proposed Moscow development with Aras Agalarov is drawing new scrutiny from House and Senate investigators. https://t.co/QrgDw5rBFE
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 13, 2019
The project that Congress is now interested in investigating is the one Trump sought to complete before his nomination. His partner in the project was the Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, who is believed to have close ties to Vladimir Putin and is the same man whose promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton led to the infamous June 2016 meeting in New York’s Trump Tower.
Aides to Congressional members interested in investigating this “other” Trump Tower told NBC News that this is the fourth of five real estate projects that Donald Trump has sought to build in Russia. After the first unsuccessful attempt in 1987, Trump again tried in 1996 in a project which didn’t take off. In 2005, Trump once again tried to build a tower with partner Felix Sater — the same man who would assist Michael Cohen in his plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ten years later.
Aras Agalarov’s son Emin told Forbes in 2017 that his father and Donald Trump decided to cancel the Trump Tower project after the latter’s nomination for president.
“He ran for president, so we dropped the idea, because obviously at this point his interests are slightly different,” Agalarov had said at the time. “But if he hadn’t run for president, we would probably be in the construction phase today, because he’s a great person, very trusted on our side and a great developer.”