On Tuesday night, CNN's Chris Cuomo drew attention to a letter of intent signed by President Donald Trump for a Trump Tower in Moscow — even though the president has previously denied that he had any business projects going on with Russia.
"This is the letter of intent for the proposed Trump Tower Moscow. All right?" Cuomo said while showing the letter on air. "It is signed by Donald J. Trump. How do I know? Well, because we've been told it was by his lawyer and because it is. And I'll show it to you in a second. Now I want you to take a walk down memory lane to remind you what the president himself has said about this project. First he said there was no deal..."
At that point, Cuomo cut to a series of videos in which Trump denied any connection with Russia.
"You know for a deal that didn't mean anything, it's a lot of pages, man, with a lot of detail about what they wanted and how they wanted it and how they'd be paid," Cuomo explained while showing more details from the letter. "And there's his signature. Cohen said that this was the case. The president said nothing happened. Then he gave a different story where the letter kind of came up, but not in the context of his signing it..."
Cuomo then cut to the president saying that Cohen had signed the letter, but not Trump himself. Cuomo then displayed a quote from Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who currently works as the president's lawyer, in which Giuliani said, "It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it."
Cuomo concluded his segment by explaining that while this isn't a legal issue, he believes that Trump and his team are preparing for a public relations campaign to put a positive spin on their lie.
In an interview with The New York Daily News, Giuliani dismissed the letter as "bullshit" because he claimed the project didn't go anywhere.
"That was the end of it. It means nothing but an expression of interest that means very little unless it goes to a contract and it never did," Giuliani elaborated.
Twitter has since been a flurry with activity about the Trump Tower revelation:
One irony of the Trump Tower Moscow revelation is that it underscores another parallel between the Trump-Russia scandal and Watergate from more than forty years earlier. On both of those occasions, a major building was associated as the focal point of the scandal (Trump Tower in New York City, where members of Trump's team met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, and the Watergate complex in Washington), and on both occasions the fundamental issue was allegations that a Republican presidential campaign had either attempted to steal or successfully stolen information that could be used to hurt the chances of their Democratic opponent.