Felix Sater, a Russian-born real estate broker who worked with President Donald Trump before 2017, sent a series of emails to Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, about a potential hotel in Moscow, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
On Monday, The New York Times published copies of the emails it had obtained, which reveal that the project in Russia was intricately linked to Trump's campaign for the presidency.
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote in one email to Cohen. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
Sater has been a nebulous figure in the probe on Russia's election interference. Sater often boasts of his close relationship with Trump, but when the Associated Press asked the president last year about Slater, Trump acted as if he did not know the man.
“Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump told the AP. “I’m not that familiar with him.”
In a series of conversations with Talking Points Memo, Sater said he tried to orchestrate a deal in Russia all the way up to December 2015, months after Trump announced his campaign for the presidency.
“Once the campaign was really going-going, it was obvious there were going to be no deals internationally,” Sater told TPM. “We were still working on it, doing something with it, November-December.”
The emails obtained by the Times demonstrated an enthusiastic Sater who felt that this deal could help boost Trump's campaign.
"Michael, we can own this story," Sate wrote in an email. "Donald doesn't state down, he negotiates and understands the economic issues and Putin only want to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to negotiate."
When asked for comment, the Trump Organization provided the Times a non-denial denial.
“To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia,” the statement said.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump's consigliere directly reached out to the Putin regime:
A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.