- Trump Organization executive Michael Cohen in January 2016 reached out to a top spokesman for President Vladimir Putin about a stalled Trump Tower project in Moscow, according to The Washington Post.
- Earlier, The New York Times reported that Trump business associate Felix Sater emailed Cohen in 2015 saying that a Russian business deal "will get Donald elected."
- Federal and congressional investigators are probing whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Kremlin efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer who was then an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, reached out to Dmitry Peskov, the top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower – Moscow project in Moscow City," Cohen wrote. "Without getting into lengthy specifics. the communication between our two sides has stalled."
"As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon," he wrote.
Cohen told congressional investigators that Trump business associate Felix Sater recommended that he write the email, the Post added. He said that "he did not recall receiving a response," the newspaper reported.
In a statement to NBC News, Cohen called the Moscow plan "simply one of many development opportunities that the Trump organization considered and ultimately rejected." He said that he "abandoned" the proposal in January 2016 because he lost confidence that the licensee could complete it.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman later added that Cohen emailed Peskov at a general press address, not his personal email address. It suggests that he did not have direct access to Peskov, she said.
The development comes as federal and congressional investigators probe Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin. Trump has denied any collusion, although developments since the election have shown that Trump associates were at least willing to accept Russian help during the election.
Later Monday, NBC News, citing three sources familiar with the matter, reported that investigators working for Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the federal Russia probe, are focused on the president's role in formulating a response to an article about a meeting between his son Donald Jr. and Russians in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.
The investigators want to determine what the senior Trump knew about the meeting and whether he tried to conceal the purpose of it, the sources told NBC.
Separately on Monday, the Times reported that Sater emailed Cohen in 2015 saying that a Russian business deal "will get Donald elected."
A plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow never came about. In a statement to the Times on Monday, the Trump Organization said it "has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia."