Editor’s note, April 19 2019: After the release of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election (better known as the Mueller Report) on April 18, it was revealed that the Dmitry Klokov involved in the story below was not the Olympic weightlifter, but a former employee of Russia’s energy minister also named Dmitry Klokov.
Buzzfeed news added a correction to their original article and noted that Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was told by Klokov’s wife “to google my husband Dmitry Klokov, you’ll see who he is close to and that he has done Putin’s political campaigns.” With the weightlifter at the top of the Google search results, he erroneously concluded that the weightlifter was the Russian in question. The text of the article below remains in its original form.
Editor’s note, June 7 2018: This article was edited to include Dmitry Klokov’s statement after it was published on Friday, June 8th.
In an article published by Buzzfeed News, it has been reported that the Olympic weightlifting medalist and former weightlifting world champion offered to introduce Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin in order to facilitate the construction of a 100-story Trump building in Moscow. Buzzfeed states that this information comes from emails they’ve reviewed and four sources with knowledge of the matter.
According to the article, in October 2015, Mr. Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent to have a Trump tower built in Moscow and the agreement also said that his daughter Ivanka was to have “the final say on all interior design elements of the spa or fitness facilities.”
Ms. Trump says she only learned of the deal after the agreement was signed, but the four sources suggest she had deeper involvement.
It’s reported by Buzzfeed that during the presidential campaign, Ms. Trump connected her father’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen with Dmitry Klokov to help expedite the deal. Klokov and Cohen then reportedly exchanged several emails that are now being examined by federal agents. Cohen is currently under criminal investigation.
In one of the emails that Buzzfeed News was shown, they claim that Klokov offered to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Cohen reportedly declined the offer and cut off future communication with Klokov, who allegedly “questioned Cohen’s authority to make decisions for the Trump Organization” in a “brusque” final response.
Klokov initially told BuzzFeed News that he did not “send any emails” to Cohen. “I don’t understand why you ask me about this,” Klokov said in text messages. “I’m weightlifter, not a political.” When told that he had sent at least two emails to Cohen and had had a phone conversation with him at Ivanka Trump’s request, Klokov stopped responding.
In any case, the deal never came to fruition, and the new Trump tower in Moscow didn’t get built.
UPDATE: Dmitry Klokov has responded to the article in a Facebook post, which reads:
To the weightlifting community, my fans and supporters:
I have spent my life as an athlete. Now that I have retired from competition, I work very hard to promote weightlifting, all strength sports and training education through seminars.
I was very surprised to see my name in the news in America this week, and because the story has so much attention, I want to make this statement for everyone’s understanding.
I have never communicated with anyone in the Trump organization, including Trump’s family or legal representatives, and specifically the Mr. Cohen who is in the news story. I was very proud to be a part of many Russian national weightlifting teams, but I do not have any inside connections to the Russian government. No part of the story of my involvement with these people is true.
I am very disappointed that these lies get so much attention in our world today. I hope the weightlifting and sport community will continue to work together with me to make people stronger and healthier through participation in competitive athletics.
Dmitry Vyacheslavovich Klokov
8 June 2018
Featured image via @klokovd on Instagram.