Trump's lawyer met with Russian oligarch at Trump Tower days before inauguration

Trump's "Spygate" claims are made up Trump taps vocal anti-illegal immigration advocate for State Dept's top refugee job Seattle Seahawks player: Trump is "an idiot" for saying protesting National Football League players "shouldn't be in the country" MORE's personal lawyer discussed U.S. -Russia relations with a Russian oligarch 11 days before Trump's inauguration, The New York Times reported Friday.

When it was revealed that a USA firm with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg had paid Michael Cohen half a million dollars, the firm, Columbus Nova, assured the oligarch had nothing to do with it. "Columbus Nova is an investment management company exclusively owned and controlled by Americans", the company assured. A representative for Vekselberg also did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

At the time of the meeting, Cohen worked for the Trump Organization and his future was uncertain. The company paid Cohen approximately $500,000 in consulting fees between January and August 2017 and is a subsidiary of Renova Group, a Russian conglomerate founded by Vekselberg. Intrater was also reportedly questioned. Vekselberg, after all, is Intrater's cousin in addition to running an affiliated company, the Renova Group. Vekselberg and Intrater did not meet with Trump while they were at Trump Tower, the person familiar with the meeting said.

The meeting was the result of the Russian allegedly attempting to strengthen ties between President Trump and Russia. A $250,000 donation Intrater made to Mr. Trump's inaugural committee secured him tickets to an inaugural dinner, and Vekselberg attended the dinner with him.

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Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, pictured here at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, met with Trump attorney Michael Cohen in Trump Tower shortly before the January 2017 inauguration of President Trump. It has denied serving as a channel for Vekselberg to make payments to Cohen.

The exact details of who sought out the relationship between Cohen and Intrater is not entirely clear, but Columbus Nova ultimately hired Cohen on a one-year contract that they mutually ended about six months into it when Cohen did not deliver, the source said. At the time, AT&T was seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

Both men have been questioned by Mueller's team.

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