930 am ET is the time scheduled for Felix Sater’s closed-door appearance before the House Intelligence Committee. This assumes that he’s not taken a sleeping pill like the last time when he missed his previously scheduled meeting.
Like the Dos Equis “most interesting man”, Felix Sater is nothing if but colorful, considering his criminal involvements, his role as an informant, and someone so unknown to Donald Trump, that he had an office on the same floor of Trump Tower as Individual-1. He’s as interesting as his friend Michael Cohen’s jail sentence is uninteresting.
Closed doors may be necessary for his testimony since there are all kinds of questions to be asked, from the Bayrock money laundering deal to the details of Putin’s deputy making connections for Trump World Tower Moscow. Neither involves national security, so far as indicated in the Mueller report. But chances are that ranking members could ask their usual nuisance questions including some problematic classified disclosures.
At least one GOP committee member could ask in open session about Sater jamming that Margarita glass stem into the face of a business colleague, or perhaps his espionage work.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) has allowed a former key Trump Organization executive — with links to the Russian mob — to testify before closed doors on Tuesday after he slept through his previously scheduled questioning.
“Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump who was the chief negotiator for the defunct Trump Tower Moscow project, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter,” The Daily Beast reports.
Sater’s informant work stems from a 1998 case in which he pleaded guilty to participating in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the mafia in New York. As a result, Sater agreed to secretly collect information for the government, which described his cooperation as “extraordinary” in national security cases that were named in open court in May.
Trump did not disclose the ongoing Trump Tower Moscow negotiations while he was running for president in 2015 and 2016, and repeatedly claimed during the campaign that he has “nothing to do with Russia.” His former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, is serving a three-year prison sentence in part for lying to the Intelligence Committee about the timing of those negotiations.
The committee is interested in Sater, the former managing director for the New York-based real estate firm Bayrock Group, because he worked with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to broker plans to build a Trump real estate property in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The property plans never came to fruition, but they attracted scrutiny from former special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators because of their timing. As part of a deal to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the duration of the property discussions within the Trump Organization. He is currently serving a three-year prison term for that and other crimes.
Trump, who didn’t disclose the property plans during the campaign, signed a letter of intent to pursue the project but ultimately did not go through with it. Sater’s involvement in the real estate project is detailed in Mueller’s report.
Sater was initially slated to testify publicly before the committee in March following Cohen’s closed-door interview, but his testimony was twice postponed.