The FBI and congressional investigators are reportedly scrutinizing communications between Ivanka Trump, Michael Cohen, and a Russian athlete offering to help secure a deal for Trump Tower in Moscow.
Ivanka Trump reportedly connected Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to a Russian athlete who said he could introduce Trump to Vladimir Putin and help secure a deal for Trump Tower in Moscow.
This is the first time Ivanka has been linked to Cohen’s efforts to launch the Trump-branded property in Russia. Her involvement in the Moscow deal has reportedly drawn the attention of the FBI and congressional investigators.
According to multiple sources and documents reviewed by Buzzfeed News, Ivanka urged Cohen to work with former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov, who offered to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin for the purpose of facilitating the construction of Trump Tower in Moscow.
Ivanka’s outreach to Cohen occurred in November 2015, just as the presidential campaign was heating up.
According to Buzzfeed, Cohen had at least one phone conversation with Klokov after Ivanka pushed him to work with the Russian athlete.
They also exchanged several emails, and at one point Klokov told Cohen he could set up a meeting between Putin and Trump to “pave the way” for construction to begin on Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen later turned down the deal and said the Trump Organization already had an agreement to built the property.
Emails show that Klokov lashed out at Cohen when he cut off communication with him. Ivanka was also angry at Cohen’s refusal to work with the Russian athlete, according to Buzzfeed.
When Cohen turned down Klokov’s offer to help, he had already negotiated a separate deal with Felix Sater, an associate of Trump, for a Russian developer to build the tower.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and congressional investigators are reportedly scrutinizing the series of events, including by reviewing emails and interrogating witnesses. Among other things, investigators want to determine how Ivanka came to know Klokov, according to Buzzfeed.
When contacted by Buzzfeed, Klokov initially denied the existence of his emails to Cohen, and then stopped responding after he was provided with details from the email exchange.
At the time that all of this was going on, Trump was well into his presidential campaign. In October 2015, he signed a letter of intent to put his name on a tower, slated to be built by a Russian developer in Moscow.
The October 2015 deal also stated that Ivanka would be able to brand a brand spa facility in the property as “The Spa by Ivanka Trump.” According to Buzzfeed, the agreement stipulated that “Ivanka would be granted ‘sole and absolute discretion’ to have the final say on ‘all interior design elements of the spa or fitness facilities'” at Trump Tower Moscow.
The new report provides the first solid evidence that Ivanka was in contact with a Russian figure during her father’s campaign, expanding the circle of close Trump allies and family members who were working with (or attempting to work with) Russians in the midst of the presidential campaign.
Donald Trump Jr. is already facing scrutiny for his communications with Russian officials, including his prominent role in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York, when he enthusiastically met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer in an attempt to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
While there’s no evidence yet of criminal wrongdoing, the revelation that Ivanka was working with a Russian to advance her family’s business interests during the campaign raises a whole new set of questions about the campaign’s ties to the Kremlin — and this time, Ivanka will have to answer for them.