"Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?" That's a paraphrased remark in a November 2015 email from a Russian-born real estate developer to Trump Organization exec Michael Cohen, which the Washington Post reports was part of the business' effort to develop a Moscow Trump Tower amid Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Based on "several people familiar with the proposal" and Trump Organization records, the Post reports that Trump's company was pushing for "significant commercial interests" in Russia in late 2015 and early 2016, all while he was in contention for a job that would put him in charge of US-Russia relations. The real estate developer in question is Felix Sater, who'd been in trouble with the law (and gone to jail) for crimes such as assault and stock fraud tied to organized crime.
Sater's correspondence urged Trump to go to Russia to talk up the proposal, with Sater indicating he could get President Vladimir Putin to say "great things" about the GOP nominee (Trump didn't make that trip). Trump had insisted throughout his campaign he had no business interests in Russia, and the Post notes he never mentioned a Moscow Trump Tower during the campaign. This plan, which seemed to gain steam in September 2015, never came to fruition, screeching to a halt in January 2016 due to an apparent lack of land and permits—and the Post notes there are no signs indicating how deep into the negotiations Trump was himself, if at all. The correspondence in question, which the Post points out increases the probability of more contacts between Trump associates and individuals with Russian ties, will soon be handed over to congressional investigators. (Read more President Trump stories.)