Two previously unknown contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign have been revealed in documents that the Trump Organization turned over to congressional investigators and Robert Mueller’s team, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
The documents show that Michael Cohen—Trump’s longtime attorney—fielded requests in October 2015 and June 2016 to collaborate on a Trump-branded real estate deal in Moscow and to attend a St. Petersburg economic conference with top Russian businessmen and politicians. Cohen declined both proposals, but they are still significant, notes the Post:
The new disclosures add to an emerging picture in which Trump’s business and campaign were repeatedly contacted by Russians with interests in business and politics. Trump’s son, his son-in-law, his campaign chairman, low-level foreign policy advisers and, now, Cohen, one of his closest business confidants, all fielded such inquiries in the weeks before or after Trump accepted the nomination.
Anonymous sources familiar with the documents told the Post that in October 2015, Cohen received an inquiry on behalf of Russian billionaire Sergei Gordeev proposing a Trump-branded real estate development in Moscow. The request came through Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian financier that has worked with the Trump Organization in the past. Cohen reportedly informed Rtskhiladze that the Trump Organization would not pursue the deal with Gordeev because it already had a commitment to a different Russian developer. This seems to be a reference to a deal that was in the works at around the same time to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Then in June 2016, former Trump business partner Felix Sater emailed Cohen with a different proposal: He encouraged him to attend an upcoming economic forum in St. Petersburg, where he would participate in discussions with Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, top Russian businessmen, and maybe even Putin himself—all arranged by Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov. Sater’s correspondence included a formal invitation and documentation that Cohen would need in obtaining a visa to travel to Russia for the event. Cohen declined the invitation.