- Years before he became president, Donald Trump wrote a series of adulatory letters to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- In the letters, Trump told Putin that he was a “big fan of yours” and asked him to be guest of honour at a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
- The letters were released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
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Years before becoming president, Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “I’m a big fan of yours” and pleaded with him to be guest of honour at a Miss Universe pageant.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a series of letters on Tuesday as part of its report into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
They include a letter in which Trump wrote to Putin congratulating him on being named Time magazine’s 2007 Person of the Year. “Congratulations on being named Time magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ – you definitely deserve it. As you have probably heard, I’m a big fan of yours!” Trump wrote.
A second letter dated from 2013 involves Trump trying to persuade Putin to attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, an event run and owned by Trump. The future president said the event would be a “great tribute to Moscow and Russia” and said his team had turned down “many competing countries in favour of Russia.”
He then asked Putin to attend the event as his “guest of honour” and suggested a private meeting with the Russian president for unspecified reasons in the days before the pageant.
The printed letter also carried a handwritten message at the bottom in Trump’s signature all-caps style that said: “THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!”
The letter was dated June 26, 2013. On June 18, 2013, Trump had tweeted: “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?”
Putin did not attend the contest but sent a senior Kremlin official in his place, according to the Senate report.
Putin also replied to the letter, attaching a decorative lacquer box as a gift.
The unofficial translation of the letter included in the package said: “Dear Mr. Trump, I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues on successfully holding the Miss Universe contest in Moscow. I hope that all the participants in this remarkable event will go home with good memories of their visit to the Russian capital. It is a pity we were not able to have our meeting, but I hope we will be able to talk during one of your visits to Russia. Yours sincerely, V. Putin.”
Shortly afterward, Trump and a Russian associate named Emin Agalarov began to discuss the possibility of building a joint real-estate venture in Moscow.
The document was contained in the fifth and most likely final report, which runs for nearly 1,000 pages, into Russian interference in the election.
It concluded that contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 “represented a grave counterintelligence threat” and detailed communications between Trump staff members and Russian agents, including one Kremlin spy, according to the BBC.
Asked about the report on Tuesday, Trump replied that he “didn’t read it.”