Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow has led him to ask questions about the role two of the president’s children played in attempting to secure a Russian real estate deal, sources tell Yahoo News. Mueller’s interest in the
WASHINGTON – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow has led him to ask questions about the role two of the president’s children played in attempting to secure a Russian real estate deal, sources tell Yahoo News.
Mueller’s interest in the Trump family real estate company’s Russia skyscraper plans was confirmed on Thursday when Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the proposed deal. In charging documents, Mueller said Cohen falsely claimed the effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow “ended in January 2016” in an attempt to “minimize” links between Trump and the project and to “give the false impression” the effort ended prior to the Republican primaries in 2016. Yahoo News first reported in May that congressional investigators had obtained text messages and emails showing Cohen’s work on Trump Tower Moscow went on for longer than he admitted under oath.
But Cohen wasn’t the only person at the Trump Organization who was pursuing deals to build a skyscraper in the Russian capital. Multiple sources have confirmed to Yahoo News that the president’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, who is now a top White House adviser, and his oldest son, Don Jr. were also working to make Trump Tower Moscow a reality. The sources said those efforts were independent of Cohen’s work on a project. One of the sources said Ivanka was also involved in Cohen’s efforts. And a separate source familiar with the investigation told Yahoo News that Mueller has asked questions about Ivanka and Don Jr.’s work on Trump Tower Moscow.
Mueller’s charging documents against Cohen included a line that described the Trump family’s involvement in the project. According to Mueller, one of the things Cohen lied about was that he “briefed family members” of Trump’s who worked at the Trump Organization about the proposed Moscow skyscraper. Prior to joining the White House, Ivanka was an executive at the company. Don Jr. and his middle son, Eric, remain with the Trump Organization.
A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on this story. Cohen and his attorney, Guy Petrillo, did not respond to requests for comment, nor did lawyers representing the president.
A source familiar with the Trump Organization confirmed to Yahoo News that Ivanka and Don Jr. engaged in separate efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The source said these efforts began “years earlier” than Cohen’s project and concluded in 2013.
“They were not looking at any other deals after that,” the source said.
The source also confirmed that both Ivanka and Don Jr. were aware of Cohen’s attempts to build in Moscow. According to the source, Ivanka’s role was limited to recommending an architect and Don Jr. was only “peripherally” aware of the plan.
“Michael was looking at that deal. Don and Ivanka knew about it and Don testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was peripherally aware of it,” the source said, adding, “That’s why we’re so perplexed Cohen would lie about briefing them because no one’s ever disputed that they knew he was looking at it.”
Don Trump Jr. did not respond to a request for comment on this story. An attorney for Ivanka Trump declined to comment on record.
Just prior to his inauguration, Trump vowed his family’s real estate company would do no new deals abroad while he was in office. It would not be illegal for the Trump Organization to have conducted business in Russia prior to that point, and Mueller inquiring about Ivanka and Don Jr.’s work on Trump Tower Moscow does not mean they are targets of his investigation. The source familiar with the Trump Organization said the pair were not aware of any work Cohen did on the project beyond the period he initially described to congressional investigators.