Cohen says Trump is 'fixated' with Putin, saw 2016 campaign as a 'branding opportunity' to expand into Russia

Catherine Garcia
·2 min read

President Trump "never thought he was going to win" the 2016 election, Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney and fixer, said on Tuesday, and he only entered the presidential race because he saw it as "a branding opportunity in order to expand worldwide."

Cohen revealed this during an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow about his new book, Disloyal: A Memoir, which details his time working for Trump. In Disloyal, Cohen writes that Trump spent much of his 2016 campaign "sucking up to the Russians," because he wanted to be able to borrow money from people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Because Trump expected to lose the election, Cohen claimed, he wanted to keep all options open for the Trump Organization, including building Trump Tower Moscow.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump falsely denied having any links to Russia. Trump had been "looking to do a project in Russia for many, many years, even prior to my joining the Trump Organization in 2007," Cohen told Maddow. "He's fixated on the wealth of Vladimir Putin and all of the opportunities that come with it."

Trump not only "never thought he was going to win" in 2016, he "actually didn't want to win," Cohen said. "This was supposed to be, and it's how he started it, the greatest political infomercial in the history of politics. If you take that line and you add to it the Trump Tower Moscow project you'll understand that this was a branding deal, that's all that the presidential campaign started out as, this was a branding opportunity in order to expand worldwide. There's only one problem: He won."

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