Donald Trump’s attorney reached out to the Kremlin for assistance in building a Trump Tower in Moscow while the President was campaigning last year, the media reported.
The attorney, Michael Cohen, on Monday denied that the project was related “in any way” to Trump’s campaign, reports CNN.
Previous reports indicated that efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow were underway during the presidential campaign in 2015, but it had not been reported that it continued into 2016.
“The Trump Moscow proposal was simply one of many development opportunities that the Trump Organisation considered and ultimately rejected,” Cohen told CNN.
“In late January 2016, I abandoned the Moscow proposal because I lost confidence that the prospective licensee would be able to obtain the real estate, financing and government approvals necessary to bring the proposal to fruition.
“It was a building proposal that did not succeed and nothing more,” he added.
Cohen’s own attorney provided documents to the House intelligence committee that included a reference to the Moscow project.
In a second, separate statement on Monday, Cohen told CNN that the proposal “was not related in any way to Trump’s presidential campaign. The decision to pursue the proposal initially, and later to abandon it, was unrelated to the Donald Trump for President campaign.
“Both I and the Trump Organisation were evaluating this proposal and many others from solely a business standpoint, and rejected going forward on that basis.”
The attorney said that he and Trump discussed the proposal three times, though Cohen “never considered asking Trump to travel to Russia in connection with this proposal” and did not brief him on his decision to terminate the development.
However, Trump’s involvement and awareness of the negotiations remains unclear and there is no public record that the President has ever spoken about the effort to build a Trump Tower in 2015 and 2016.
He denied having any business interests in Russia in July 2016.