CNN Has Receipts For ‘Trump Tower Moscow’ Campaign Collusion

Former beauty pageant owner and alleged president Donald J. Trump signed a letter of intent to build a Trump Tower Moscow in October 2015, after he had declared his candidacy and signaled his willingness to give Russia sanctions relief but before the Iowa caucus.

CNN host Chris Cuomo displayed Trump’s signature on a copy of the document last night. It is dated October 28, 2015, less than three weeks after Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper “I’d get along well with” Vladimir Putin.

At a libertarian gathering in Las Vegas four months before that, candidate Trump responded to a question from accused Russian spy Maria Butina, saying “I don’t think you’d need the sanctions” if he was president.

The damning timeline undercuts all of Trump’s strenuous claims during the campaign that he had no business or interests of any kind in Russia, so there have been desperate attempts to spin the facts.

On Sunday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had told CNN’s Dana Bash that “There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it.” Exposed as either an ignoramus or a liar last night, Giuliani shifted the goalposts, babbling to the New York Daily News that “It means nothing but an expression of interest that means very little unless it goes to a contract and it never did.”

In fact, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen says he worked very hard on the project until June 14, 2016, the day that the Washington Post revealed Russia had hacked the DNC.

Giuliani went even further on Sunday, suggesting that Trump’s interest in a Moscow tower continued all the way to November 2016.

This is a marked change from previous denials. Trump even admitted in a recent tweet that he had “lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia” during the campaign, but tried to minimize the matter, saying he had “put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project.”

According to the letter of intent obtained by CNN, however, the Trump Organization would have received “a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales and control over marketing and design” had the deal gone through. And in a recent sentencing recommendation for Cohen, Robert Mueller’s special counsel told a federal judge that the Moscow project would have paid Trump hundreds of millions of dollars.

The benefits of the deal would have gone both ways. Documents that Cohen showed to Buzzfeed reporters in November reveal that Trump wanted to offer Putin the $50 million top floor penthouse.

Not coincidentally, the deal would have involved financing by a sanctioned Russian bank — contingent on Trump overturning those sanctions, of course.

Naturally, this dealmaking continued even as Trump repeatedly denied that he was pursuing any such deal. Cohen says his negotiations for a tower project went on while Russian hacking took place, while George Papadopoulos met with the mysterious Professor Mifsud, and even while Don Jr. held his Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin agents.

The president and his supporters continue to insist there was “no collusion” going on here, but that is becoming an impossible position to defend anymore.

Featured image via CNN/screen capture