For decades, one of Donald Trump’s biggest goals has been to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. So far, such a deal has never gone through, but he got pretty close in 2015. CNN recently released a 17-page memo relating to the Trump Tower Moscow project. The 17-page letter of intent was not signed by Trump, as it was a copy that Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, wanted him to sign. Trump apparently did sign it later that month. The documents outline a branding deal for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in downtown Moscow.
The deal would give the Trump Organization $4 million upfront, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales and control over the marketing and design of the properties. Additionally, it stipulated that Trump be allowed to name one of the spas after his daughter Ivanka. The deal never came to pass, but it is worth noting that Trump never mentioned it during his campaign, despite being asked about Russia several times, such as the beauty pageant he held there in 2013, where he wondered if Putin would become his new best friend.
Throughout the course of his campaign, Trump frequently insisted that he had no business relationships with Russia. While this deal did fall through, it does prove that Trump was actively trying to engage in business deals in Russia. Given how intertwined the Russian oligarchs are with Putin’s government, it is unlikely that such a deal would have moved forward without Putin’s knowledge and approval. Trump’s willingness to do business in Russia suggests a willingness to do business with Putin.
That, in and of itself, might be understandable from a business perspective, but his unwillingness to acknowledge it during the 2016 campaign implies that he knew it would not look very good to the voters. The Cold War might be over, but the United State’s relationship with Russia is still rather icy. It’s understandable that many Americans may not have wanted a president who was openly trying to do business in Russia. It could lead to potential conflicts of interest and the Trump administration has enough of those as it is.
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