Putin spokesman claims he ignored Trump adviser email

Michael Cohen (R), executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump, arrives at Trump Tower, on Jan. 12, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Trump continues to hold meetings Trump Tower.

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A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed he received an email last year from a lawyer for Donald Trump about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow, but ignored the email because it wasn’t in his wheelhouse.

Kremlin spokesman Demitri Peskov told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that he never responded to the email sent by Trump Organization lawyer and executive Michael Cohen, and never discussed the correspondence with his boss, according to Reuters. Cohen had emailed Peskov in January 2016 to address the possibility of building a Trump Tower in Moscow, but claims he abandoned the idea by the end of that month when he received no response from Peskov.

“I can confirm that among the mass of e-mails there was an e-mail from Mr. Michael Cohen,” Peskov said Wednesday, according to Reuters. “This really happened.”

Cohen, in a letter he submitted this week to the House Intelligence Committee, said he emailed Peskov at the suggestion of a third-party intermediary, Russian-born U.S. citizen Felix Sater. Cohen said he believed a project on such a large scale would ultimately require approvals from the Russian government. The Trump Organization went as far as creating a non-binding letter of intent for the project, soliciting building designs from architects and holding preliminary discussions about possible financing for the proposal before abandoning the project, Cohen said. 

Cohen claims Mr. Trump was never in contact with anyone — except himself on three occasions — about the proposal. 

“The Trump Tower Moscow proposal was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign,” Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee. “The decision to pursue the proposal initially, and later to abandon it, was unrelated to the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. Both I and the Trump Organization were evaluating this proposal and many others from solely a business standpoint, and rejected going forward on that basis.”

The Washington Post first reported the emails between the intermediary Sater and Cohen. In 2015, Sater told Cohen, “Our boy (Trump) can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.” Sater boasted, “I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process” and said, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees, along with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, as well as any connections between Russians and the Trump campaign. 

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Source: CBS News – Politics

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