Team Trump just can’t seem to get its story straight about the infamous Trump Tower Moscow deal.
Donald Trump actually did sign a “letter of intent” to proceed with talks to develop the Moscow project, CNN reported Tuesday — contrary to his attorney’s claim just days earlier that the document wasn’t signed. Rudy Giuliani had told the network Sunday that while there was a letter of intent to proceed with negotiations to develop the project, it had never been signed.
“There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” he said.
But on Tuesday, the network released a copy of the letter, dated Oct. 28, 2015, bearing Trump’s signature, along with that of Andrey Rozov, owner of the Russian company that would have developed the property.
The proposal for the scrapped real estate development in the heart of Moscow has been the subject of fierce scrutiny, particularly since Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last month to lying to Congress about the deal out of loyalty to Trump.
Cohen admitted he had lied to a congressional committee last year when he denied having spoken to a Kremlin official about obtaining Russian government backing for the project during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cohen had initially said plans for Trump Tower were scrapped in January 2016, but according to his confession, they continued far into the campaign season, beyond when Trump was the GOP’s presumptive nominee.
The admission flew in the face of Trump’s repeated denials that neither he nor his associates had any contact with Russian officials, nor any business dealings in Russia, insisting that he had “nothing to do with Russia.” Despite the denials, Trump had a potentially lucrative real estate deal on the table at the same time he was speaking positively about Russian President Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail.
Trump has continued to deny any wrongdoing over the deal, which he insisted was “very legal & very cool.” “Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!” he tweeted last month.
He told reporters after Cohen admitted lying last month that his former fixer was “trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story.” But even if Cohen was telling the truth, Trump said, it was irrelevant.
“Even if he’s right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign,” Trump said. “I was running my business, a lot of different things, during the campaign.”
Cover image: President Donald J. Trump makes remarks at the Congressional Ball at White House in Washington, D.C. on December 15, 2018. Credit: Yuri Gripas / Pool via CNP | usage worldwide Photo by: Yuri Gripas/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images