Mueller Files: During 2016 Campaign, Trump Sought In-Person Meeting With Putin
Donald Trump asked Michael Cohen in the fall of 2015 to reach out to the Kremlin about having an in-person lunch meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Midtown skyscraper, according to NY Daily News.
Cohen told former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators that he had pitched the idea to Trump after then-President Barack Obama had refused to meet with Putin on the sidelines of a United Nations conference.
The interview notes from the memo were made public from Mueller’s probe.
“Cohen told him that if Trump wanted, Cohen could reach out to Putin’s office and try to arrange a meeting between the two of them,” the memo says. “Cohen suggested it would be funny for the two men to meet at Trump Tower and have a burger. Trump agreed it was a good idea, and would be funny, and to go ahead and reach out.”
Cohen, who is currently in prison for pleading guilty to a number of Trump-connected crimes, claims that he “did a Google search” for a Kremlin phone number and was promptly told by a Kremlin spokeswoman that it would break protocol for Putin to meet with Trump, who was then a long-shot Republican candidate for president.
The conversation highlights Trump’s willingness to curry favor with Putin in developing a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign, who saw it as a “potential $1 billion deal” that “the Russian government liked.”
Although Trump Tower Moscow was never developed, discussions about its construction continued well into the 2016 campaign.