10, March 2018
US President Donald Trump had sent a personal letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin inviting him to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, a new report says.
Citing sources familiar with the content of the letter, The Washington Post reported that Trump, who at the time owned the Miss Universe pageant, was so eager to have Putin attend the event, which was being held in Russia for the first time.
The sources, who saw the letter, said it shows how interested Trump was in attracting the personal attention of the Russian president. Trump wrote the note at a time when he was looking to expand his brand to Russia, according to the report.
At the bottom of the typed letter, the estate magnate also added a postscript saying he looked forward to seeing “beautiful” women during the trip to Moscow.
A White House spokesman and attorneys for the Trump Organization declined to comment on the report. John Dowd, an attorney for the president said he was not familiar with the letter, calling it “all nonsense.”
Trump,however, made no secret at the time about his enthusiasm for meeting Putin. In a June 18, 2013 tweet, he wrote, “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”
The Russian president did not go to the event but sent a “sealed letter “and a Russian lacquered box instead, according to a former report by The Post. What the letter said has never been revealed.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating alleged collusion between Trump’s Presidential campaign and the Russian government, have asked witnesses questions about the Miss Universe pageant and Trump’s interest in having Putin attend the event, according to the report.
Allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that have gripped Trump’s administration prompted his legal team to pursue negotiations with Mueller to end the probe in exchange for an interview with the president, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Muller declined to comment on the report.
Trump has so far made contradictory stories about whether he met Putin before he became president. During a Republican primary debate in November 2015, he claimed that he knew Putin “very well.” But the next year, he said in an interview with CBS that he has “nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” Both Moscow and Washington have consistently denied the allegations of collusion.