According to a report published in The Washington Post, a supposed deal to expand Donald Trump's brand between Trump Organization and Russian developers almost reached fruition last year. The report detailed that Trump's company had reportedly tried to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2015 and early 2016 but the deal fell through as the company was ultimately unable to obtain land permits to start construction. The sources mentioned in The Post's report are apparently people on the inside who were "familiar" with the construction proposal, as well as records between both participating sides. The White House has refused to comment to The Post on the report. Trump has continuously denied having any ties with Russia.
The investigative report named a Russian-born developer Felix Sater as the integral character who had purportedly attempted to make an appealing case for a Trump Tower in Moscow. The report claimed that Sater had encouraged Trump to pay Russia a visit where Sater would get the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, to say "great things" about the American president. But Trump never visited Moscow, according to the report, and the project failed to materialize due to failure on part of Trump's corporation. The company did not carry the permit to commence the project in Russia. In January 2016, the deal was apparently called off.
The timing of these alleged conversations between Trump's organization and Russian developers seems to be key for the ongoing federal investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. The timeline of reported exchanges between both sides show that Trump's organization was not opposed to the idea of collaborating with Russian entities.
The federal probe into potential collaboration between Trump's campaign and Russia is currently being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. In public statements, however, Trump's organization has been quick to announce its apparent indifference to expanding its brand in Russia. When similar accusations of collaboration and possible Trump property expansion in Russia emerged in March, a spokeswoman for Trump's company told Forbes, "The Trump Organization does not [have], and has never had, any properties in Russia, and the press’ fascination with this narrative is both misleading and fabricated."
In spite of consistent refutations from Trump's end against previous accusations, The Post's report may only increase doubt and skepticism among the majority of Americans who believe the president worked in cahoots with Russia. But whether the report will assist and provide more information in the present federal probe concerning the Trump-Russia debacle is yet to be seen.