Donald Trump is so chummy with the Russian pop star who reportedly set up a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer that he once sent him a birthday greeting praising the singer, Emin Agalarov, as a “winner” and “champ.”
Music publicist Rob Goldstone says he set up the meeting on behalf of Agalarov, a real-estate heir Trump knew from Miss Universe pageants. Trump recorded a birthday message for him in 2014, when he turned 35. He called the birthday boy “a winner,” adding, “you’re a champ, you’re great at real estate, and boy can you entertain.”
No one is calling the video any kind of smoking gun. It’s just an interesting insight into Trump’s relationship with the pop star, and may explain why his son took the meeting.
The day after Trump won the election, Emin sent a video back: “I never doubted you for one second,” he said, pointing out a bobble head of Trump on his desk. “You’re an absolute winner, you proved everybody wrong.”
Agalarov is the son to Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, who was awarded the “Order of Order” by Vladimir Putin. According to the Agalarov’s business website, the Crocus Group, the award is meant for “prominent leaders of science, culture, art, industry, healthcare and education, diplomats and law-enforcement officers and entrepreneurs who have demonstrated high performance and social responsibility standards.”
The Agalarovs met Trump at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013; the businessmen lobbied for Russia’s capital to be the location of the event.
Trump was featured alongside Miss Universe contestants in Emin’s “In Another Life” music video from 2013, doing his “You’re fired” schtick from “The Apprentice.”
The Agalarovs were part of Trump’s desire to build a Trump Tower in Moscow that never materialized. “We thought that building a Trump Tower next to an Agalarov tower–having the two big names–could be a really cool project to execute,” Emin said in a March interview with Forbes. “He ran for president, so we dropped the idea. But if he hadn’t run we would probably be in the construction phase today.”
The relationship between Trump and the Agalarovs seems to be strong as ever, which might be why Emin asked his publicist to contact Trump, Jr, regarding help on the campaign. “He will give you extra attention if he likes you,” Emin said in that same Forbes interview. “Anything Trump related I would be interested to pursue. I think today the Trump brand is stronger all over the world. And him being the president; I mean, it’s a big brand now.”
Goldstone mentions both Agalarovs in his emails to Trump, Jr. “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting,” Goldstone wrote in the now infamous emails — which Trump, Jr. posted on his Twitter account Tuesday after the New York Times reported on them.
“The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” the email continues. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.”
Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators will be looking at the meeting and the emails as part of the broader probe into possible Russian collusion within the Trump campaign, as CNN reports.