A small token of his esteem

BuzzFeed reports that the Trump gang was planning to bribe Putin with a $50 million dollar penthouse in the proposed Moscow tower building.

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.

The Trump Tower Moscow plan is at the heart of a new plea agreement by Cohen, who led the negotiations to bring a gleaming, 100-story building to the Russian capital. Cohen acknowledged in court that he had lied to Congress about the plan in order to protect Trump and his presidential campaign.

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. The plan never went anywhere because the tower deal ultimately fizzled, and it is not clear whether Trump knew of the intention to give away the penthouse. But Cohen said in court documents that he regularly briefed Trump and his family on the Moscow negotiations.

Felix Sater told BuzzFeed today that the idea was that Putin would be a lure for the oligarchs, because they’d all stampede for the chance to live in the same building as Putin. (I kind of wonder why. I’d be afraid he’d shoot me in one of the elevators, myself.)

Trump had personally signed the letter of intent to move forward on the Trump Tower Moscow plan on Oct. 28, 2015, the day of the third Republican primary debate.

On Thursday, shortly after news broke about Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump told reporters, “There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won” the presidential election, “in which case I would have gotten back into the business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?”

Yesterday he asked the New York Post “Why would I take a pardon for Manafort off the table?” Because it’s an abuse of power, you stupid fuck. Why you should lose lots of opportunities to make $$$ while running for president is because of the corruption. Duh.

Developing a tower in Russia had long been a dream of the Trump Organization, which pursued a deal there for three decades. After Trump announced his candidacy in the summer of 2015, Sater saw an opportunity to revive the development.

“I figured, he’s in the news, his name is generating a lot of good press,” Sater told BuzzFeed News earlier this year. “A lot of Russians weren’t willing to pay a premium licensing fee to put Donald’s name on their building. Now maybe they would be.”

Ohhh – I hadn’t grasped that part. This wasn’t about Trump’s company building the tower, it was about Trump charging millions just to put his name on the tower – the tower built by other people at their own expense. All this, for Trump’s squalid name on a building.

So he turned to his old friend, Cohen, to get it off the ground. They arranged a licensing deal, by which Trump would lend his name to the project and collect a part of the profits. Sater lined up a Russian development company to build the project and said that VTB, a Russian financial institution that faced US sanctions at the time, would finance it. VTB officials have denied taking part in any negotiations about the project.

Nice work if you can get it. They do all the work and advance all the money, and Trump just takes payments for the use of his name.

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