Michael Cohen, an attorney for Donald Trump, in Trump Tower Dec. 2016. (Richard Drew / AP)

Michael Cohen, an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, emailed Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, in January 2016 and asked him to help accelerate the building of a Trump Tower in Moscow, reports The Washington Post, citing documents submitted to Congress Monday.

"Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower - Moscow project in Moscow City. Without getting into lengthy specifics, the communication between our two sides has stalled... As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals."

Why it matters: Cohen's email to Peskov is the most direct documented correspondence of a top Trump aide and a high-ranking member of Putin's government during the campaign.

Cohen's background: Cohen, who has been one of Trump's closest aides for more ten years, did not take a formal role in the campaign, but he did sometimes appear as a Trump surrogate in the media.

Trump's involvement: Cohen told congressional investigators that the business deal was proposed as a licensing project, and would have been built by Moscow-based developer I.C. Expert Investment Co. Cohen also said Trump signed a letter of intent with the company on Oct. 28, 2015, after which he "began to solicit designs from architects and discuss financing." Note: The signed letter of intent contradicts Trump's repeated denials that he has no business deals with Russia.

Cohen's response: In a statement turned over to Congress, Cohen claimed that Felix Slater, a Russian immigrant and Trump associate, had advised him to write the email, suggesting that such a massive real estate project in Moscow would require Russian government approval. The New York Times reported Monday that Sater promised in 2015 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow with Putin's help, and said the real estate deal would help Trump win the 2016 election.

Cohen's statement to the Post: "It should come as no surprise that, over four decades, the Trump Organization has received and reviewed countless real estate development opportunities, both domestic and international. The Trump Moscow proposal was simply one of many development opportunities that the Trump Organization considered and ultimately rejected."

Go deeper

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Republican super PAC raised $92 million in September

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, raised more than twice as much this September as it did two years ago, according to a FEC filing that will go live Tuesday night.

By the numbers: The SLF raised $92 million in September, spent $105 million, and ended the month with $113 million cash on hand, as Republicans work to maintain their majority on Nov. 3.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
15 mins ago - Economy & Business

The evolution of HR

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, human resources jobs were on the automation chopping block. Now they're essential.

The big picture: HR departments across the world have pulled off the incredible feat of turning companies from in-person to remote overnight, and as the pandemic continues to determine the future of work, HR has been elevated from a back-office function to a C-suite conversation.

24 mins ago - Technology

Netflix stock sinks after Q3 subscriber miss

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix's stock was down more than 5% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the tech giant reported that it missed expectations on global subscriber growth for the quarter.

Why it matters: Netflix experienced explosive growth during the first half of the year. It wasn't expected to match that growth this quarter, when lockdowns lifted and after new competitive services had launched, but analysts were still expecting it to meet expectations of at least 3.3 million net new global subscribers.