Dmitry Peskov: Building Skyscrapers Is Not Our Work [But Is Stealing Elections?]

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spox, has now responded to the reports that Michael Cohen wrote him, at Felix Sater’s instructions, to do something that might get Trump elected. Effectively, he said his job was not building skyscrapers.

Peskov confirmed that his office had located a copy of the email, which said the development deal wasn’t moving forward and requested support.

He said the email was sent to the public “Press Office of the Kremlin” address — which receives thousands of queries, relevant or otherwise — and denied knowing Cohen personally.

“This email said that a certain Russian company together with certain individuals is pursuing the goal of building a skyscraper in the ‘Moscow City’ district, but things aren’t going well and they asked for help with some advice on moving this project forward,” Peskov said. “But, since, I repeat again, we do not react to such business topics — this is not our work — we left it unanswered.”

Bloomberg’s Russian correspondent (not sure if she’s there or here) described Peskov’s comments as addressing two of the details not covered by CNN: Peskov denied knowing both Cohen and Sater. And Peskov said the issue was not discussed with Putin.

No further emails were sent and Peskov said the subject wasn’t discussed with President Vladimir Putin.

[snip]

Peskov said he didn’t know Cohen or Felix Sater, an associate of Trump’s that Cohen said recommended he email the Kremlin.

Also, Ivanka didn’t sit on Putin’s chair or lap.

Peskov said Ivanka Trump didn’t visit Putin’s office or sit in the president’s chair.

Still, none of the competing sides of this story explain the underlying question, which I laid out here, nor do they deny communications about topics other than these “business topics.” In November, Sater had a deal that, he thought, might lead to his buddy becoming President. Purportedly, that deal was about building a Trump Tower in Moscow, and required only that Vladimir Putin say nice things (which, as it turns out, he did start saying).
Peskov dismisses the possibility that the reported deal went anywhere because — he explains — he’s not in the business of skyscrapers.
But if Sater’s intended deal was something else, would Peskov be in that business?

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

16 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Well, something had to be pitched to even bother writing something nice and traceable as email to a foreign government during an election.  Cohen is a well-connected political guy but not a diplomat, and so the link to the Trump campaign was an easy one to make (and exploit) if the MSM bothered to do its job.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/the-curious-link-between-trumps-moscow-tower-deal-and-a-ukraine-peace-plan/

    There is no way that I see where a paper trail would be risked by any campaign linking it to a long-term adversary (under US sanctions plus Obama’s having just tossed out numerous Russians for “conduct inconsistent with their diplomatic status”) unless there was a clear benefit to offset the blow back if the connection became well publicized.  Peskov is blowing smoke.

    • Evangelista says:

      Let’s see, just running in general, with generalities, the Trump Tower Project business was, what?– 2015?  And here is Mother Jones, in August 2017, just out with one of her breathless exposés, having apparently (giving her three months magazine transom-to-bed lag time) only just in late April or early May discovered the before-Trump-was-seriously-into-campaigning (even for primaries) Moscow-Trump-Tower effort to suck the Russian government in to help provide government-bank welfare assistance to Donald Trump and his enterprises…

      And then there is (quoting your parenthetical) “(under US sanctions plus Obama’s having just tossed out numerous Russians for “conduct inconsistent with their diplomatic status”)”…  Now when did that occur?  I believe you are right that it was some time between 2015 and 2017, but was it 2015, so that it could actually be that “Obama’s having just tossed out numerous Russians” could be chronistic, instead of anachronistic…?

      Somebody appears to be just stringing events, with no more concern for chronology than a kindergärtener stringing beads has design sense.

      To any purpose?

      I suggest, to get a real handle on what was going on, that the desperate straw-graspers are attempting to blow up into some kind of “event narrative” they can huff up a good hyperventilation on, what the Trump-Team was actually doing, and trying to do, in its Moscow-Trump-Tower activity is worthy of intelligent evaluation, with a critical focus.

      I wrote it above, a “Moscow-Trump-Tower effort to suck the Russian government in to help provide government-bank welfare assistance to Donald Trump and his enterprises…”

      Review how Trump, and most like ‘Developers’ actually do business.  Then review how Trump’s Moscow Tower deal was played.  Then review why it failed to get into a construction phase.

      I’ll give you a short-cut:  Trump-type Developers work on a Welfare Basis:  They believe their kids (projects) are so important the State should provide for their raisings.  In Trump-Developers’ visions a Trump-Tower-(fill in city and country) such a “gift” to local and national status that the local and national entities in the area one is proposed to be installed in and so to glorify should provide all that is asked, easements, eminent domain, variances, permits and permit exemptions, and, of course, financing, with favorable rates subsidized, or at least indemnified, maybe even guaranteed?, by the …’ahem’… Public…  The taxpayers…

      Trump’s Moscow-Tower fell through because the Kremlin said, “Fine, we would love to have you, carry on,,, on your own…”  “Follow procedures, just like anyone building a tar-paper dacha, don’t look for rich-guy-worshiping-bureaucrats to favor you or subsidize you, and put up your own financing, and take your own risks.  That is how it is done in the new Russia.  If you want to be a no-risk investor, like Soros, and so need financing favors and backing guarantees, go to your U.S. Congress;  they are famous for blowing their taxpayers’ money on those.  Or maybe build your Trump-Tower in Kiev, where the U.S. Congress already has provided investor indemnifying guarantees.”

      Yes.  If you do a little research you will find that the reason Trump-Tower-Moscow was “stillborn” (actually aborted, but in the land of free-speech we can’t use certain words) was because Donald Trump was not prepared to invest his own funds, or take responsibility, himself, for a defined part of the project’s financing.

      Why the hell do you think Trump is superlative with the superlatives?  It’s because his type, The Billionaire Developer, uses those to hype their projects as so “Magnificent!” and so “YHuge!” they are “gifts to the people”, which the people should pay for, while the developers take the profits.

      You all are so busy ‘seeing’ Donald Trump what you want to ‘see’ him that you don’t see what he is:  Another rich Welfare scammer, no different from all the others, sucking from the pockets of the taxpayers.

      In Moscow they saw him coming…

  2. Craxis says:

    Peskov?

    Of the Steel Dossier fame?

    He’s still alive?

    I guess the dossier is a bunch of garbage then.

    I did have doubts. I doubted Steel had super spy powers beyond that of the CIA, NSA and MI6 combined.

    I’m waiting to hear the Maddow crowd express distress the American govt does not have the same super spy powers as Steel to confirm all of Steel’s dossier stories.

    BTW, how much did Cohen charge for writing the letter? That’s motive too.

  3. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: They diss Kaspersky, but other Russian companies software they find ok.

    https://m.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/08/30/russian-hackers-help-us-with-encryption-nightmare/

    Elcomsoft is not alone. At least two other Russian security outfits – Oxygen Forensics and Passware – are also doing contract work for U.S. government and law enforcement bodies.

    [The logical conclusion is that what the function of the software tools are determines if they are acceptable or not. There must be something about Kaspersky that is not acceptable. Is it because it is blocking some investigation? Maybe US government suspects it is backdoored even though Kaspersky does not believe so. Remember, Kasprrsky offered the source code to US government. It could still be backdoored and to really know would require that the source code be made public, which, obviously Kaspersky can not afford to do as they would go out of business]

    [Maybe US government has done the disassembly work and knows that it is actually backdoored. They would not need the source code then anyway]

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Another scenario, very possibly the concern, is that there is an exploit that targets Kaspersky antivir.

      Antivir software runs with high privilege. It has to. If there is an exploit that leverages Kaspersky antivir, this would definitely explain the concern.

      Kaspersky needs to do a deep dive, with some fresh eyes.

  4. pg says:

    I appreciate that Parry article @ 4:15pm.  These emails, as well as the June 9th meeting emails, appear to reflect the efforts of Russians with connections to Trump acting independently and attempting to exploit the opportunity presented by their respective relationships with him.  The basis for inferring evidence of a Putin-Trump quid pro quo is not so clear to me.

    When I look at the collective pieces of information reported about Trump’s election, the interference of Russia, and the underbelly of political operations, I find it difficult to see the connections that the writers and commenters here clearly see.  I see an abstract (though, a dark and depressing one) rather than a narrative.  It’s all quite a Rorschach test.

    • Evangelista says:

      I suspect that if Putin “did” do “anything” to help Donald Trump into the United States Presidential Office his reason would have been to help ‘the Donald’ into a position where he would be getting a pay-check.  So he could, you know, pass the ‘steady income’ barrier on loan applications and so maybe be able to afford to finance some of his grandiose project ideas, himself…

  5. bell says:

    emptywheel – i am surprised you have gotten caught up in the endless affair of russia stealing the election business…  it gets very tiring.. does the cia/fbi have all they need on felix sater so they put him to use on stupid shit like this???

    Sater was born in Moscow into a Russian Jewish family, the son of Mikhail Sheferovsky and Rachel Sheferovskaya. He has a sister, Regina. The family immigrated to Israel when Felix was 8 years old to avoid religious persecution in the Soviet Union, and eventually came to the United States, living in Baltimore, Maryland before settling in Brighton Beach, New York in 1974.[4] Felix and his sister adopted the surname Sater. Mikhail Sheferovsky (also known as Michael Sheferofsky) states that the family name was Saterov at some point (Сатаров).[10] According to the FBI, Mikhail Sheferovsky was an underboss for Russian Mafia “boss of bosses” Semion Mogilevich and convicted of extorting money from local restaurants, grocery stores, and a medical clinic.[11]

  6. bell says:

    if americans want to focus on stolen elections, they could do a lot better studying how the usa meddles 24/7 in the affairs of other countries…alas, most americans are too consumed in football and entertainment, as opposed to usa foreign policy to care much about what happens in other countries.. there is only one country that really counts, lol…

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