While Donald Trump was still a presidential candidate, his company was considering giving Vladimir Putin a huge and very symbolic gift, reports BuzzFeed, which cites multiple sources—including the business associate who came up with the plan. Longtime Trump Organization business associate Felix Sater says the plan was to give Putin a $50 million penthouse in the Moscow Trump Tower development that was being discussed. "The oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin," Sater says. "My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units." He says Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney at the time, called it a "great idea."
Cohen—who admitted Thursday that he had lied to Congress about the Russian real estate talks—discussed the deal with a representative for Putin's press secretary, law enforcement sources say. It's not clear whether Trump was ever told about the plan, though Cohen says he regularly briefed Trump and some of his children on the talks. The Trump Tower deal eventually fizzled, as did several other deals in Trump's 30-year effort to bring the Trump brand to Russia, starting with a failed 1987 plan to build a luxury hotel in what was then still the capital of the Soviet Union, the Washington Post reports. (Trump said Thursday that being a candidate for president was no reason to overlook business opportunities.)