Back in January, stories about the Mafia-linked Russian-born 2007 “senior advisor to Trump,” Felix Sater were breaking news. Sater’s stories of showing Trump’s children around Moscow conflicted with Trump’s stories: Donald claimed he barely knew him. Today, Felix is back in the news, Scott Dworkin claims that he advised the Trump campaign, with other shocking revelations.
#BREAKING: Russian Mobster Felix Sater Advised The Trump Campaign
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) May 12, 2017
Dworkin is the co-founder of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump. The article linked in the Tweet points to a Russian language interview published on November 15th, 2016 in which Sater reveals continuous contact with Trump for at least ten years.
We can’t verify the validity of this Russian interview yet, so take that with a grain of salt, though it’s certainly shocking if true. The Los Angeles Times did reveal more of Sater’s claims of this nature though. They verify that Sater worked as a confidential informant for the F.B.I. and that he claimed he also worked for U.S. intelligence.
“I was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night,” Sater, now 50, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview from New York.
Dworkin’s article is a fascinating read, and certain to leave you with a great many questions, and probably a blown mind. One obvious question: Why did Trump deny knowing Felix Sater, if he stayed in contact with him throughout his campaign? The facts show that Trump has avoided admitting his relationship with Sater before, and that relationship does appear to be so complex that it would certainly have to be unforgettable to Trump. In other words, Trump is lying again.
Some pertinent facts relating to Felix Sater’s reappearance:
1. From NBC News: The Senate Intelligence Committee just requested documents relating to Trump and top aides from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network concerning a $10 million civil penalty on Trump Taj Mahal in 2015. The committee is looking for evidence of possible money laundering and “to what extent, if at all, people close to Vladimir Putin have invested in Trump’s real estate empire.”
Trump Taj Mahal admitted having “willfully violated” reporting and record-keeping in a consent order. Trump Taj Mahal failed to report suspicious transactions of $5,000 or more about half of the time during the periods of two reviews by the IRS. This coincides with Dworkin’s article written by Grant Stern, which goes into great detail about alleged money laundering through casinos and real estate.
2. Trump claimed not to know Felix Sater much at all in a video deposition from 2013, but months before that he admitted he knew him on video.
“About how many times have you conversed with Sater?” asks the interviewer.
“Over the years? Not many. If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,’ replies Trump.
Six months previously, in an interview with Jon Sweeney for BBC Newsnight, Trump admits to knowing him.
Sweeney: Why didn’t you go to Felix Sater and say, “You’re connected with the Mafia: You’re fired.”
Trump: Well we were not the developer there. It was a licensing deal.
Sweeney: But your name is on it, Mr. Trump.
Trump: Excuse me, I don’t know, but you’re telling me things that I don’t even know about. I mean, you’re telling me about Felix Sater. I know who he is.
Sweeney: But for a year you stayed in bed with Felix Sater, and he was connected with the Mafia.
Trump then calls Sweeney “thick,” suggests he was obligated because of a contract, and promptly leaves the room. BBC Newsnight reveals a “bad boy clause” in the contract with Trump that would prevent Sater’s company Bayrock from in any way damaging the Trump brand, which would obviously include work for the Mafia.
See the short interview below:
3. Though Sater claims in an exclusive to Fox News that he was not a link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, he was centrally involved with a Russia-Ukraine peace plan that was left on the desk of then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The New York Times reported that the Ukraine peace plan was drawn up by Sater, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and a Ukraine opposition lawmaker, Andrii Artemenko. Both Cohen and Sater claimed they didn’t speak to Trump about the proposal, which also seems highly dubious.
4. The Washington Times revealed the “long and complicated case of Felix Sater” in January 2015. Sater cooperated with government investigations after pleading guilty in 1998 to a racketeering stock “pump and dump” fraud scheme. The Times lists continuing racketeering lawsuits filed against Sater and problems with transparency in those cases. The secret deals between the government and cooperators like Sater deprived fraud victims of $40M in restitution. That case triggered a former federal judge to call on Congress to investigate then-federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch, a year before Obama nominated her for attorney general.
This also coincides with Dworkin’s article, in which he reveals this quote from Lynch:
The defendant in question, Felix Sater, provided valuable and sensitive information to the government during the course of his cooperation, which began in or about December 1998. For more than 10 years, he worked with prosecutors from my Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and law enforcement agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies, providing information crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra.
For that reason, his case was initially sealed.
So it does appear there was some immunity from prosecution for Sater, even after committing illegal acts. The real question for today is, did Trump have some sort of similar arrangement, as the Dworkin article suggests? If so, who in the government would know about that? Would one of those people perhaps be the just fired James Comey?
The plot thickens, with a thick Russian accent. It’s no wonder it’s taking so long to get to the bottom of it, but will Comey’s firing delay the truth from coming out?
Featured image: Trump and John Sweeney screenshot from YouTube