Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Sept, 2016 (John Locher / AP)

Felix Sater, a business associate of President Trump, reportedly promised in 2015 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow with the aid of Vladimir Putin, and said the real estate deal would help Trump win the 2016 election, reports The New York Times.

  • Sater, a Russian immigrant who was a broker for the Trump organization at the time, reportedly sent a series of emails to Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, "boasting" about his close ties Putin. In one email, Sater wrote, "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."
  • In another email Sater wrote, "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected."
  • Why it matters: The emails provide tangible evidence that "from the earliest months of Mr. Trump's campaign, his associates viewed close ties with Moscow as a political advantage," writes the NYT. Those ties are now being closely investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Timing: On Sunday, The Washington Post reported on the existence of the emails between Sater and Cohen, but did not report on the content that was shared. On Monday, the Trump Organization turned the emails over to the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe into whether any of Trump's campaign officials were involved with Russia's interference in the election.

Their defense: "To be clear, the Trump Organization has never had any real estate holdings or interests in Russia," The Trump Organization said in a statement Monday. Cohen also issued a statement, saying Sater "has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to 'salesmanship.' I ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia."

Go deeper

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months — Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: How to help save 130,000 livesFDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
59 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

2 hours ago - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.