The House Intelligence Committee is expected to hear Tuesday from a businessman who worked with the Trump Organization on a couple of projects, including briefly discussing building a Trump tower in Moscow.
The text sent by Rtskhiladze in October 2016 said he had “stopped the flow of tapes from Russia,” presumably a reference to reports of videotapes that might be embarrassing to then-candidate Donald Trump.
Rtskhiladze has disputed the Mueller report’s characterization of his message to Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer.
Cohen said in his congressional testimony earlier this year that he had been part of an effort to chase down rumored tapes of Trump. He said he didn’t have any knowledge of their actual existence.
“I’ve heard about these tapes for a long time,” Cohen said. “I’ve had many people contact me over the years. I have no reason to believe that that tape exists.”
A spokesman for Rtskhiladze, Melanie A. Bonvicino, said Monday that the businessman hopes his voluntary appearance before the House panel Tuesday will be an opportunity for “finally putting these inquires behind him so that he may focus on his family and ongoing business concerns.”
A spokesman for the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), declined to comment Monday.
Schiff has said repeatedly said recently that he views the effort to build a Trump tower in Moscow during the election as an important area for inquiry.
“The idea that a president of the United States was seeking a multimillion-dollar deal in Moscow — a deal that would have been the most lucrative of his life — at the same time he is running for president just screams of compromise,” Schiff said earlier this year. On Friday, his panel was expecting to hear from another Trump business associate, Felix Sater. However, Sater did not appear as expected, citing health problems.
Sater worked on two efforts to develop a Trump tower in Moscow, and he escorted Trump’s children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. during a 2006 visit to the Russian capital. He is expected to appear before the committee at a later date.
Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.