Plans for Trump Tower Moscow were much further along than previously known and Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was involved with the project for far longer than he disclosed, it emerged Thursday.
Architectural drawings had been submitted for the massive luxury hotel, office and apartment complex planned for Moscow, McClatchy News reported, and there was a memorandum of understanding signed along with the financing arranged.
Additionally, text messages and emails obtained by Yahoo News contradicted Cohen’s claims about how long he was involved in the project.
Russian born business man Felix Sater [right] worked on the Trump Tower Moscow Project. He is pictured with Donald Trump and real estate developer Tevfik Arif, who was not involved in the Moscow project, at the September 2017 launch of Trump Soho.
The idea for a Trump Tower Moscow came after the 2013 Miss Universe contest, which took place in Moscow. Russian businessman Aras Agalarov, who sponsored the 2013 pageant, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Donald Trump attend the final of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in September of tha
Cohen was working on the Trump Tower Moscow project as late as May 2016, the communications show, when he previously told Congress he stopped working on it in January of that year.
Cohen worked for the Trump Organization at that time, which was when Trump was close to securing the Republican nomination for president. After the election, Cohen left the organization but remained Trump’s personal attorney.
The messages about Trump Tower Moscow, which were sent to Russian-born Trump associate Felix Sater, are now in the hands of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Sater told Yahoo News that, in addition to giving the communications to Mueller’s team, he also gave them to the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate’s Intelligence and Judiciary committees.
‘I have fully cooperated with every investigation and every committee. I have provided absolutely everything voluntarily, and not under subpoena, that was asked of me and will continue to willingly cooperate. All my communications show I was tenaciously trying to get a supertall tower built and nothing else,’ Sater said.
Neither Cohen nor his team responded to Yahoo on the matter.
Mueller’s investigation has increasingly focused on Cohen and includes his work on Trump Tower Moscow, his personal business holdings and any payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
The communications between Cohen and Sater show they first started discussing Trump Tower Moscow in 2015. The Trump family has said the project was sparked after Trump was in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.
Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union, worked for the Trump Organization in the mid-2000s, helping the company build hotels in Florida and New York.
He allegedly was also a spy for the United States, working as an asset for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency and tracked Osama bin Laden, Buzzfeed reported. Sater also worked for the FBI for more than a decade, work he did in part to fend off prison time after he was convicted of stock fraud.
In his messages to Cohen, Sater claimed he could introduce him to high-level figures in Russia to aid in the building of Trump Tower Moscow.
Emails and messages between Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and businessman Felix Sater contradict Cohen’s earlier statements on how long he worked on the Trump Tower Moscow project.
Emails published by the New York Times earlier this year showed Sater suggested he could get Russian President Vladimir Putin to back the project and that building the complex would ultimately help Trump get elected president of the United States.
‘I will get Putin on this program, and we will get Donald elected,’ Sater wrote in an email from November 2015.
In the emails and texts obtained by Yahoo, Sater said that a project like Trump Tower Moscow could not be completed without Putin’s approval. Cohen, in the messages, became frustrated and swore at Sater because Sater had not been able to set up the necessary meetings.
The plans for Trump Tower Moscow were ultimately abandoned.
Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee he left the project ‘for business reasons’ in January 2016 in part because the Trump Organization couldn’t get necessary government permissions in Russia to build. He also said the decision was not related to Trump’s presidential campaign.
But Sater’s messages show the two men continued to talk about the project into May 2016 with Sater encouraging Cohen to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in mid-June 2016. Cohen ultimately said any travel to Russia would have to take place after the 2016 Republican convention, which took place in July.