Trump Tower Moscow

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Trump Tower Moscow, also known as the Moscow Project,[1] was a series of proposals by the Trump Organization to develop a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, Russia.[2] Michael Cohen testified February 2019 Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were regularly briefed about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow.[3][4][5] Trump Jr. had told Congress he was only "peripherally aware of it".[5]

No such project was ever built, but the idea continued to receive press coverage due to Donald Trump's election as president of the United States and the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election aimed at promoting Trump's candidacy. In November 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow in a prosecution brought by the office of the special counsel.[2]

Background[edit]

Donald Trump is reported as having first envisaged a Trump building in Moscow during a visit to Moscow in 1987.[6] The development was originally envisaged as a joint venture with the Soviet Union's tourism agency, Goscom Intourist.[7][8] Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Trump's interest in a Moscow tower continued. In 2005, the Trump Organization signed a one-year contract for a construction project in Moscow with the Bayrock Group real estate firm. One of the firm's principals was Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with mob connections.[9] Sater identified a site for a Trump skyscraper. It was stipulated any spas or fitness areas be branded "The Spa by Ivanka Trump."[10]

That proposal fell through, but Sater continued to maintain a relationship with Trump.[11] After holding the Miss Universe pageant in Russia in 2013, Trump tweeted "TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next."[12][13]

A New York architect had completed plans for a bold glass obelisk 100 stories high by September 2015, with the Trump logo on multiple sides. The planned Trump Tower would have been the tallest skyscraper in Europe.[14] The proposed site was a location in the Moscow International Business Center, near the Moscow River.[15]

2016 Presidential campaign[edit]

Trump launched his campaign for the presidency in June 2015. Multiple sources have reported that Trump signed a letter of intent to develop the building, provisionally named Trump World Tower Moscow, in October 2015.[12][16] Throughout the primary and general election campaigns, he consistently praised Russia and Russian president Vladimir Putin,[17][18] while repeatedly making public statements that he had no business dealings with Russia,[19] saying that he had "nothing to do with Russia" and "I know nothing about Russia ... I don’t deal there."[20] However, in November 2018 Trump told reporters that "we were thinking about building a building" in Moscow, adding that "everybody knew about it" and "there would have been nothing wrong with it."[21]

According to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Trump's interest in a possible Moscow project continued through most of the primary campaign, ending in June 2016.[12][22][23] The president's attorney Rudy Giuliani later said that the tower remained an "active proposal" throughout the campaign, and that Trump recalled discussing it with Cohen, possibly as late as October or November 2016.[24] He quoted Trump as having said the discussions were "going on from the day I announced to the day I won."[25]

November 2018 developments[edit]

The proposal came back to public attention in November 2018, when Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the issue, in a prosecution brought by the office of the special counsel.

Cohen had told a Senate committee that the project was dropped in January 2016 because they couldn't get the necessary permissions. However, on November 29, 2018, Cohen admitted in a court proceeding that those statements were untrue, and that he had continued to pursue the possibility of a Trump Tower Moscow until June 2016. He said that in the course of those negotiations he spoke directly with a representative of the Kremlin press office. He said he contemplated going to Moscow himself, although in fact he never did, and he raised the possibility of Trump going to Moscow during the general election campaign to seal the deal. He said he personally briefed Trump about the project on several occasions, as well as Trump family members.[11] Cohen also admitted in court that he had lied to the Senate in September 2017 "to be consistent with [Trump's] political messaging."[26]

In trying to make arrangements with Moscow, Cohen worked closely with Sater. According to Sater, they discussed the possibility of giving a $50 million penthouse in the tower to Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying that Putin living there would increase the value and saleability of the other units.[27] Sater stated that the proposal was dropped in June 2016 because news reports emerged then about the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, making a Russian business connection into a political liability.[12]

Letter of intent[edit]

In December 2018, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was quoted as saying “It was a real-estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it."[28] On December 19, CNN produced a copy of a letter of intent apparently signed by Trump and Andrey Rozov,[29] the owner of I.C. Expert Investment Company, the proposed Russian development partner.[30] Giuliani then described the letter of intent as "meaningless" because it "didn't go anywhere".[31] He also denied that he had said the letter was never signed.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Qiu, Linda (November 29, 2018). "Fact Check of the Day: Trump Denies Business Dealings With Russia. His Former Lawyer Contradicts Him". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Orden, Erica; Scannell, Kara; Brown, Pamela; Collinson, Stephen; Borger, Gloria. "Michael Cohen pleads guilty, says he lied about Trump's knowledge of Moscow project". CNN. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  3. ^ Alan Neuhauser (February 27, 2019). "Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Briefed on Russia Trump Tower Deal". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  4. ^ Rebecca Ballhaus (February 27, 2019). "Cohen Says He Briefed Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. on Trump Tower Moscow About 10 Times". WSJ.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b Aaron Rupar (February 27, 2019). "Michael Cohen's testimony could be bad news for Donald Trump Jr". Vox.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ Stieb, Matt. "What Does Trump Tower Moscow Mean to the Mueller Investigation?". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  7. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (29 November 2018). "'We will be in Moscow': The story of Trump's 30-year quest to expand his brand to Russia". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  8. ^ Harding, Luke. "The Hidden History of Trump's First Trip to Moscow". Politico. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  9. ^ Horwitz, Jeff (December 4, 2018). "Q&A on Trump real estate adviser accused of a $40M stock fraud scheme and ties to the mob". AP. US News. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  10. ^ Alex Ward (December 19, 2018). "Trump Tower Moscow, and Michael Cohen's lies about it, explained; Everything you need to know about Trump's efforts to do business in Russia". Vox.com. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Ward, Alex (November 29, 2018). "Trump Tower Moscow, and Michael Cohen's lies about it, explained". Vox. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d Dilanian, Ken; Smith, Allan (November 29, 2018). "Scuttled Trump Tower Moscow project back in limelight after Cohen guilty plea". NBC News. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ Trump, Donald J. (2013-11-11). "@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!". @realDonaldTrump. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  14. ^ Azeen Ghorayshi (January 22, 2019). "Trump's Lawyer Said There Were "No Plans" For Trump Tower Moscow. Here They Are.; Rudy Giuliani claims the Moscow tower was barely more than a notion. "There were no drafts. Nothing in the file." Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News tell a different story". Buzzfeednews.com. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  15. ^ "The President Said No Site Was Picked For Trump Moscow – But Documents Show His Fixers Were Scoping A Prime Location". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  16. ^ "Here's the preliminary deal to bring a Trump Tower to Moscow". CNN. September 8, 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  17. ^ Smith, Allan (September 10, 2016). "Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin on the national stage again — here's what it all means". Business Insider. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  18. ^ Cillizza, Chris (July 16, 2018). "Donald Trump just can't stop saying nice things about Vladimir Putin". CNN. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  19. ^ Rupar, Aaron (November 30, 2018). "Trump once said he had "no dealings with Russia." Now he claims "everybody knew" about them". Vox. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  20. ^ a b Rupar, Aaron (December 19, 2018). "Rudy Giuliani lied about a Trump Tower Moscow letter of intent. CNN has receipts". Vox. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  21. ^ Allen, Jonathan (November 29, 2018). "Trump's new Russia deal defense: Just business as usual". NBC News. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  22. ^ Blake, Aaron (December 17, 2018). "The plot just thickened on Trump Tower Moscow". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ Haltiwanger, John (2018-11-29). "Michael Cohen admitted a bombshell detail about the Trump Tower Moscow deal that could spell trouble for Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  24. ^ Kamisar, Ben; Haberman, Maggie; Schmidt, Michael S. (January 20, 2019). "Giuliani: Discussions on Trump Tower in Moscow were 'active' throughout 2016 election". CNBC. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  25. ^ Mazzetti, Mark (January 20, 2019). "Moscow Skyscraper Talks Continued Through 'the Day I Won,' Trump Is Said to Acknowledge". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Cohen Pleads Guilty and Details Trump's Involvement in Moscow Tower Project". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  27. ^ Alesci, Cristina; Kelly, Caroline (November 30, 2018). "Trump Tower Moscow concept included idea of giving penthouse to Putin". CNN. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Trump Signed Letter of Intent to Move Forward on Trump Tower in Russia: Report". The Daily Beast. 2018-12-19. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  29. ^ https://medium.com/@futr/убийство-кинутые-дольщики-башня-трампа-93755817f62a
  30. ^ Steinbuch, Yaron (2018-12-19). "Trump signed letter of intent to proceed with Moscow project". New York Post. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  31. ^ Wise, Justin (2018-12-19). "Giuliani says Trump signing letter of intent for Moscow tower is meaningless". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-12-19.



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