We've learned quite a bit over the last 24 hours about the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project that Donald Trump and his team pursued during his 2016 presidential campaign. It's a deal the Republican and members of his inner circle appear to have lied about, including lies Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, told to Congress while under oath.
But new and amazing details continue to emerge. BuzzFeed published a gem last night on what the Trump Organization was prepared to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of the project:
President Donald Trump's company planned to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 campaign, according to four people, one of them the originator of the plan.Two US law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed News that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer at the time, discussed the idea with a representative of Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary. [...]The revelation that representatives of the Trump Organization planned to forge direct financial links with the leader of a hostile nation at the height of the campaign raises fresh questions about President Trump's relationship with the Kremlin.
Rachel joked on the show last night, "Oh, I don't know. Doesn't every presidential candidate in every election offer a $50 million gift to a foreign leader who at that time is running a military intelligence operation to help that candidate become president in the United States? Don't they all do this?"
It's worth pausing to appreciate the trajectory of the controversy from a distance. Remember, when the significance of the Russia scandal first started coming into focus, the original line from Trump and his team was that Moscow didn't interfere in the U.S. elections, didn't prefer Trump, and never communicated with anyone on Trump's political operation.
In the months that followed, the scandal steadily evolved. Well, maybe Russia interfered, the president and his team said. And maybe someone from the campaign communicated with Putin's government. OK, maybe several people. And maybe we lied about it. And maybe there was a meeting. And maybe we lied about that, too.
Oh, did we mention that the Trump Organization, during Russia's intelligence operation against the United States, may have planned to give Putin a $50 million penthouse?