For at least three decades, Donald Trump has dreamed of a hotel stamped with his gilded name near Moscow’s Red Square. As early as 1987, in The Art of the Deal, Trump imagined “a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government.”
Twenty years — and a few failed Russian hotel bids — later, he made a promise in a 2007 court deposition: “We will be in Moscow at some point.” Now, that dream of Russian hospitality is turning nightmarish, as Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen stated in federal court on Thursday that he had engaged in talks to license a tower in Moscow deep into the 2016 campaign, potentially exposing the president to charges of perjury.
As the special counsel investigation heats back up, the task of pinning down the significance of an individual detail in a sprawling inquiry has only grown more challenging. So, what is the history of Trump Tower Moscow, and its significance to Robert Mueller’s team?
1987: Trump first considered the hotel during a 1987 trip to the Soviet capital. He was treated as an intelligence target while in Russia: the KGB helped smooth out the paperwork for his visit in coordination with a mid-80s effort to recruit more American sources, looking for powerful men who had a “habit of having affairs with women on the side.” Though the project stalled, Trump had a lovely time in Moscow. He stayed at the Lenin suite in the National Hotel near the Red Square, run by the state agency for tourism. His room was almost certainly bugged. Read more