It’s been a big day for the Trump team! First, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pled guilty to lying about his dealings with Russia around the Trump Tower Moscow deal during the 2016 campaign. Trump then told reporters that Cohen was lying about these lies, calling his former lawyer a “weak person.” To conclude this totally normal series of events, Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that Cohen’s plea is actually true, and is confirmed by Trump’s written answers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, before backtracking yet again. Whew.
Now, Buzzfeed reports an interesting new detail in the story of Trump and Cohen’s sordid dealings with Russian politicians: in their quest to build a 100 story tower in the Russian capital, the Trump Organization apparently planned to give the $50 million penthouse apartment in said tower directly to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Cohen’s former business associate Felix Sater and extremely bad friend told Buzzfeed today about the proposed deal.
“In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.” A second source confirmed the plan.
According to Sater, Cohen responded to the proposal by saying it was a “great idea.”
Eventually, the Trump Tower Moscow deal fell apart. But Cohen’s new plea shows that he was working on the deal nearly up until the 2016 general election, and had promised that Trump would personally visit Russia to secure the deal after the Republican National Convention, something he previously lied about to Congress.
But wait, there’s more!
Two FBI agents with direct knowledge of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations told BuzzFeed News earlier this year that Cohen was in frequent contact with foreign individuals about the real estate venture — and that some of these individuals had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling. The identity of those individuals remains unknown.
None of the individuals involved responded to Buzzfeed’s requests for comment.