September and October 2015: Cohen and Sater, who had worked on previous real estate proposals for Trump in Russia, began discussions about a potential deal. According to The Washington Post, "an unidentified investor planned to build the project and, under a licensing agreement, put Trump's name on it." Sater believed that, with Trump's publicity from the campaign, it would be perfect timing. He began to contact former contacts in Russia and put together a licensing deal for the Moscow project fairly quickly.
Jan. 14-16, 2016: Cohen emailed Dmitry Peskov, a top aide and spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, to enlist his help "to secure land and permits," according to documents submitted to Congress.
So which was it, someone wanted to build a hotel and pay Trump to put his name on it or Trump wanted to buy land and build the hotel himself.
Wow, and talking to Cohen a whole 3 times about this in nearly a year sounds like the clincher!