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Kremlin Says It Received Trump Lawyer's E-Mail About Tower Project

  • RFE/RL

Michael Cohen, an attorney for The Trump Organization (file photo)

The Kremlin has confirmed that U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer sent an e-mail about a real estate project in Moscow during the U.S. presidential campaign.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on August 30 that Michael Cohen had sent the e-mail in January 2016 to the press office's general e-mail address.

Peskov said Cohen had written about "a certain Russian company and certain people" who wanted to build a skyscraper in Moscow and sought help for the project.

"Because we do not react to such [questions about] business issues, and this is not our job, we left this matter without a response," Peskov said.

He added that the Kremlin had not received other similar requests on the matter and that he had not raised the subject of Cohen's e-mail with Putin.

"We cannot discuss the hundreds and thousands of various requests from different countries we get with President Putin," said Peskov.

Letter Of Intent

The comments come after Cohen disclosed that Trump’s company was pursuing a project to build a tower in Moscow while he campaigned for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. presidential election in 2015 and early 2016.

U.S. media reported on August 28 that Cohen had written a statement to the House Intelligence Committee, one of several congressional panels that are investigating alleged Russian interference in the election and whether there was any collusion between Russia and allies of Trump. Both Trump and Moscow deny the allegations.

Cohen, who was the Trump Organization's chief counsel at the time, said in the two-page statement that the deal reached the "letter of intent" stage but ultimately was abandoned "for a variety of business reasons," according to the reports.

The Moscow Trump Tower deal was "unrelated" to Trump's presidential campaign, Cohen insisted.

He said he personally told Trump about the proposal "on three occasions," and Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent in October 2015 to build the hotel complex.

'Our Boy Can Become President'

Cohen also said he sent an e-mail to Peskov asking for help with the deal based on the advice of a Russian-born business associate of Trump, Felix Sater, who claimed to have deep connections with the Kremlin, media reported.

According to The New York Times, Sater wrote a series of e-mails to Cohen in which he spoke of such connections and suggested building a Trump Tower in Moscow would help Trump win the presidency.

"Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it," the Times quoted one of Sater's e-mails to Cohen as saying. "I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."

Cohen said he did not recall any response to his e-mail to the Kremlin, or any other contacts with Peskov or other Russian government officials about the project.

The Trump Organization confirmed that a nonbinding letter of intent was signed in October 2015 with Moscow developer I.C. Expert Investment Co. to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

It said the licensing deal was abandoned because it "was not significantly advanced" and no site or financing materialized during negotiations. It also said Trump was never paid any fees as part of the deal.

"To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia," the company said.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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