President Trump's ex-longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen worked with an FBI informant known as "The Quarterback" to negotiate a deal for Trump Tower Moscow during the 2016 US election, according to BuzzFeed News.
"The Quarterback," Felix Sater - a longtime FBI and CIA undercover intelligence asset who was busted running a $40 million stock scheme, leveraged his Russia connections to pitch the deal, while Cohen discussed it with Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, according to BuzzFeed, citing two unnamed US law enforcement officials.
Sater told BuzzFeed News today that he and Cohen thought giving the Trump Tower's most luxurious apartment, a $50 million penthouse, to Putin would entice other wealthy buyers to purchase their own. "In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin," Sater told BuzzFeed News. "My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin." A second source confirmed the plan. -BuzzFeed
The Trump Tower Moscow plan is at the center of Cohen's new plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller after he admitted to lying to congressional committees investigating Trump-Russia collusion.
According to the criminal information filed against Cohen Thursday, on Jan. 20, 2016 he spoke with a Russian government official, referred to only as Assistant 1, about the Trump Tower Moscow plan for 20 minutes. This person appears to be an assistant to Peskov, a top Kremlin official that Cohen had attempted to reach by email.
Cohen "requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction," the court document states.
Cohen had previously maintained that he never got a response from the official, but in court on Thursday he acknowledged that was a lie. -BuzzFeed