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The budget of the Trump Tower Batumi was not two hundred and fifty million dollars but a hundred and ten.

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But if Mueller and his team persist, Sekulow said, he might lodge a formal objection with the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who has the power to dismiss Mueller and end the inquiry.But the planned high-rise—forty-seven stories containing lavish residences, a casino, and expensive shops—was oddly ambitious for a town that had almost no luxury housing.Trump did very little to develop the Batumi property.The project was a licensing deal from which he made a quick profit.In exchange for the million-dollar payment, he granted the right to use his name, and he agreed to visit Georgia for an elaborate publicity campaign, which was designed to promote Georgia’s President at the time, Mikheil Saakashvili, as a business-oriented reformer who could attract Western financiers.(Saakashvili did not respond to requests for comment.)The announcement of the Batumi tower was handled with cynical opportunism by both Trump and Saakashvili, but that was not the deal’s biggest problem.

The developer that had paid Trump and invited him to Georgia—a holding company known as the Silk Road Group—had been funded by a bank that was enmeshed in a giant money-laundering scandal.

Trump-branded buildings in Toronto and the So Ho neighborhood of Manhattan were developed in association with people who have connections to the Kremlin.

Other real-estate partners of the Trump Organization—in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and elsewhere—are now caught up in corruption probes, and, collectively, they suggest that the company had a pattern of working with partners who exploited their proximity to political power.

Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow recently told me that the investigation being led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, should focus on one question: whether there was “coördination between the Russian government and people on the Trump campaign.” Sekulow went on, “I want to be really specific.

A real-estate deal would be outside the scope of legitimate inquiry.” If he senses “drift” in Mueller’s investigation, he said, he will warn the special counsel’s office that it is exceeding its mandate.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held five years ago, but no foundation has been dug.