June 06–As Donald Trump campaigned for U.S. president, his daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly was urging Michael Cohen, the family’s personal attorney and “fixer,” to work with a Russian Olympic weightlifter who claimed he could help set up a meeting between her father and President Vladimir Putin to close a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Ivanka Trump’s alleged involvement in a potential Trump-Putin meeting during the election is described in a report by BuzzFeed News. It also appears that this is the first time that President Trump’s reported favorite child and White House senior advisor has been publicly connected to investigations into his campaign’s contacts with Russians during the 2016 election.
Congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team are now reviewing the contacts that allegedly took place between Ivanka Trump, Michael Cohen and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Dmitry Klokov, BuzzFeed said.
“The contacts reveal that even as her father was campaigning to become president of the United States, Ivanka Trump connected Michael Cohen with a Russian who offered to arrange a meeting with one of the U.S’.s adversaries — in order to help close a business deal that could have made the Trump family millions,” BuzzFeed News said.
It’s been widely reported that Trump and his family’s Trump Organization had long sought to build a luxury hotel and condominium project in the Russian capital. Cohen, who is now under FBI investigation, was a key figure in these efforts. Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. also traveled to Moscow in 2006 to scout locations as newly installed vice presidents of their father’s company. Ivanka Trump famously sat in Putin’s chair in his office while touring the Kremlin.
In the fall of 2015, Cohen was working with Felix Sater, a longtime Trump associate, to make the deal happen. Sater, by the way, had been convicted in 1998 of one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the Genovese and Bonanno crime families, according to court records.
In October 2015, Donald Trump personally signed a non-binding letter of intent to allow a Russian developer to build the tower and brand it with Trump’s name, the Business Insider reported.
In emails between Sater and Cohen in November 2015, Sater bragged about his relationship with Putin and told Cohen he would “get all of Putin’s team to buy in” on the deal, the Business Insider said. Regarding Donald Trump, Sater wrote: “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”
As for Ivanka Trump’s interests, a key feature of the hotel would be “The Spa by Ivanka Trump.” Trump’s oldest daughter would have “sole and absolute discretion” to have the final say on “all interior design elements” of the spa and fitness center.
As a Trump Organization executive, Ivanka Trump, a former teen model and Manhattan socialite, represented a glamorous, well-spoken “ambassador” for her father’s company and for his ascendent campaign, especially after he was accused of sexual misconduct and of making misogynist, racist comments.
Inside the Trump Organization, the mother of three “had a reputation as a shrewd and tough executive known to get her way,” BuzzFeed News said.
BuzzFeed said there is no evidence to indicate that Ivanka Trump’s contact with Dmitry Klokov was illegal or that it had anything to do with the election. It’s also not clear how she knew Khlokov, a handsome, chiseled 231-pound world heavyweight champion who lives in Moscow. Moreover, it’s not known if Klokov knew Putin or had influence with him.
Nonetheless, congressional investigators and Mueller’s team have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses related to Ivanka Trump and Michael Cohen’s interactions with Klokov, BuzzFeed News wrote.
Ivanka Trump urged Cohen to speak to Klokov in November 2015, BuzzFeed News said. The two men had at least one phone conversation, then exchanged a string of emails. In one of those emails, Klokov told Cohen that he could arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Putin to help pave the way for the tower. But Cohen sent Klokov an email saying the Trump Organization already had an agreement in place and cut off future communications with him. Ivanka Trump reportedly became frustrated with Cohen’s decision to stop communicating with Klokov.
In an initial interview with BuzzFeed, Klokov denied sending any emails to Cohen and said he wasn’t “political.” He stopped responding to BuzzFeed inquiries when presented with evidence of the emais.
Through her attorney, Ivanka Trump denied knowing about a Trump Tower project in Moscow before her father signed the letter of intent. She said her only role in the project was urging Cohen to make sure that any tower built would conform “with the highest design and architectural standards.”
Ivanka Trump has serious questions about her business ethics before. In 2012, New York city prosecutors considered filing fraud charges against her and Donald Trump Jr., for their role in developing and marketing the troubled Trump SoHo building. According to a report by The New Yorker, WNYC, and ProPublica, the Trump children, who worked with Felix Sater on the project, reportedly used falsified information in marketing the building.
The sister and brother escaped indictment after Marc Kasowitz, another attorney for their father, donated to the political campaign of Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney overseeing the case. Kasowitz told ProPublica that his donation was unrelated to the case, while Vance said the donation was legal, though he planned to give the money back, according to Vanity Fair.
Ivanka Trump may have reason to worry about another investigation: the FBI’s case involving Cohen, according to New Yorker writer Adam Davidson. That’s because Cohen helped work on a variety of the Trump family’s business deals, “sketchy” and otherwise, Davidson wrote in April after Cohen’s home, office and hotel room were raided by FBI agents.
“Trump might have reason to worry about Cohen cooperating with federal investigators, but (Ivanka and her brother Donald Trump Jr.) likely have even more reason,” said Davidson, who has written investigative reports on Trump’s domestic and international businesses.
In the years leading up to Trump’s election, his company’s global development team was essentially made up of Cohen, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., Davidson said. The team pursued multiple opportunities to earn millions by affixing Trump’s name to buildings in Moscow, as well as to projects in the former Soviet republics and in South America, Asia and Canada.
In their pursuit of these international deals, Donald, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. “did business with corrupt politicians, sanctions violators, and money launderers,” Davidson added.
This article provided by NewsEdge.