To set the stage for former personal Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s upcoming testimony before Congress, it’s important to bear in mind just exactly what got him in the most trouble to begin with: Lying to Congress the last time he testified. And although his lies spanned more than one subject, the focus will now be on the most substantive of all — his lie about how long and how deeply Trump was involved in the planning of a Trump Tower to be built in Moscow while he was campaigning for President.
The subtext won’t be simply how thick Trump was in the mix, though.
The fact is, the real question here both in this case specifically and in the larger Russia probe is whether or not there was quid pro quo between Trump and Russia. And the one thing that can show that is how each behaved during the time in question. For Trump’s part, it’s clear that he was eager to praise Putin the entire time he was both trying to get elected and trying to get that Tower built.
A new side-by-side timeline of the talks to get the Moscow Tower built even as Trump was lavishing praise on Vladimir Putin was released today by investigative reporter Jason Leopold and his team, and it’s based on a trove of previously unreleased documents that show not only the background on Cohen’s lies in his Congressional testimony but just how far Trump has gone to lie about how far along the real estate deal was.
Trump has claimed repeatedly that there were never plans, there was never anything solid in place regarding the Moscow Tower deal — but the document cache includes mock-ups of the Tower and details on how its completion was directly enmeshed with his presidential campaign.
As Trump went from rally to rally, vociferously denying any dealings in Russia, his representatives, Michael Cohen and his associate Felix Sater, worked with Trump Organization lawyers and even Ivanka Trump to push forward negotiations to build a 100-story edifice just miles from the Kremlin. The fixers believed they needed Putin’s support to pull off the lucrative deal, and they planned to use Trump’s public praise for him to help secure it. At the same time, they plotted to persuade Putin to openly declare his support for Trump’s candidacy. ‘If he says it we own this election,’ Sater wrote to Cohen.”
That’s a far cry from the “passing notion” that Trump has claimed the Moscow Tower to be. You can see the documents for yourself here.
Featured image via screen capture