A senior aide to President Trump asked Vladimir Putin’s press secretary for help sealing a business deal in the middle of the 2016 Republican primary process, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing congressional documents.
Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen emailed Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskin to seek the government’s help in finalizing plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow, which had stalled.
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance,” he wrote. “I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics.”
Cohen said in a statement to the Post that he never received a response from Peskin and that the Moscow projected was abandoned two weeks later. He asserted that the Moscow project “was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”
The email is the first evidence of direct contact between Trump and Putin aides during the campaign. It could be a key piece of evidence for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating if Trump or his associates colluded with the Russians.
Cohen reportedly emailed Peskin at the suggestion of Felix Sater, a Russian-American business associate who had frequently worked with Trump on projects both in the United States and Russia. Sater had emailed Cohen in November 2015 to say through his connections, he could get Trump Tower Moscow built and help Trump get elected president.
“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote to Cohen.